About

This 2006 commercial is part of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, and demonstrates a woman’s appearance undergoing a major transformation in order to become suitable for a billboard advertising makeup. In the clip, we witness the makeup application, hair styling, light-engineering, airbrushing and photo-shopping that ultimately culminate in a billboard bearing little resemblance to the original woman’s appearance. The clip and its tagline – “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted” – function to critique the beauty industry and the unrealistic standards for appearance it imposes on women and girls.

Discussion

The goal of this ad is to both shed light on and critique the unrealistic standards put forth by the beauty industry. Do you think the ad is successful in doing so? Why or why not?

This ad was intended to promote Dove’s “self-esteem fund.” In what ways might a clip such as this have the potential to positively impact self-esteem among girls?

Critique

Although this clip is useful in its demonstration of the “unreal” nature of beauty advertisements, Dove’s critique of the beauty industry could be viewed as both paradoxical and hypocritical. Dove is, after all, a company whose profits depend on selling products meant to enhance women’s bodies in some manner. In this way, Dove remains firmly engaged in the system it purports to critique, and the Campaign for Real Beauty becomes a means to reach a previously-disaffected group of consumers. Ultimately, the clip carries a positive message, but reminds us that it is important to consider the source and motives behindanyadvertisement.