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dove, thought before action

This 2013 advertisement is a follow-up to Dove’s iconic “Real Beauty” campaign, which aimed to promote a positive body image by celebrating women’s bodies of all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors. In past advertisements, the Unilever-owned personal care brand demonstrated how drastically a photo can be transformed with Photoshop. In this ad, Dove attempts to “raise the stakes” of the Real Beauty campaign “by speaking directly with those responsible for manipulating our perceptions” – art directors, graphic designers, and photo retouchers.


Is it important to be aware of what goes on behind-the-scenes in producing media? Why or why not?

How does the act of retouching potentially change a consumer’s percpetions and ideals?

What effects, if any, do you believe such a campaign can have on those who work behind the scenes (retouchers) or on the broader public?

Is it possible for a consumer company that sells self-care products to effectively promote and campaign for body acceptance?


Dove’s parent company, Unilever, also owns Axe, the brand of men’s personal care products that has been widely criticized for its advertisements featuring anonymous, overtly sexualized and conventionally-attractive women lusting after the men who use these products. Should this “behind-the-scenes” knowledge change a viewer’s outlook on the authenticity (or effectiveness) of the Dove campaign? If so, how?

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