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The Dove Campaign Fallacy

03/03/2010

It is interesting to me that everyone thinks models are photoshopped to the point of being unrecognizable in advertisements. Dove, for the purpose of brand repositioning and driving sales, has perpetuated this exaggeration to no end via the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Who cannot forget that traumatizing video of the average woman whose head and eyes are pulled apart in order to look worthy of a billboard?

Give me a break.

Most people don’t get to see models during castings. I am sure it would come as a shock to most people that models look just as beautiful in person as they do in print (even in a pair of sweats). Make-up artists, hair stylists, and fashion stylists all work together to create a magical ambiance that enhances this beauty. But these girls are hardly ever photoshopped in way that Dove would like you to think. NY Times has a great feature called Model Morphosis that shows you the transformation with just makeup alone. Models need beautiful faces, clear skin, and hard bodies in order to work at all. It would not make sense for advertisers to pay for touch-ups or major rehauls of models’ bodies and faces when there are so many men and women to choose from.

It is when models ARE photoshopped that we have problems. Who can forget the controversy when images of Filippa’s grotesquely altered waistline in Ralph Lauren ads hit the internet? Funny and witty PhotoshopDisaters is a great place to see other (obvious) mistakes that cheap work reveals.

The people who are photoshopped: celebrities. These are typically people who (we would like to think) have risen due to talent, not necessarily looks. Remember those trippy LV ads with Madonna? Or the HR ads with Demi Moore? It seems to me that people should be more skeptical of Hollywood figures than fashion models.

Models.com, the premiere site for online model and editorial information, did a phenomenal interview with Jason Tuchman, a premiere photo retoucher. Listen to what he has to say about the world’s perception of photo editing.

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