Dove Canada infiltates Photoshop in the name of 'Real Beauty'
Fed up with seeing idealised images of women in magazines and on websites? Dove Canada, the soap company that has long criticized unrealistic images of women in advertising, has an interesting technological solution.
The company has created what amounts to a Trojan horse, targeting photo editors, retouchers, and graphic designers. It is designed to highlight the changes that they make to photographs of women before they are published, and get them to think twice before putting them out there.
The company created a Photoshop Action – a shortcut tool designed to manipulate an image with a set of pre-defined visual effects. Many such Actions exist already, and do everything from brightening a photograph, to altering backgrounds.
In this case, the Action was called "Beautify", and it was touted as a way to make skin glow. The company published it on various professional design websites and online forums visited by people who retouch photographs for a living. It was offered as a free download to make their work easier.
However, when a photo retoucher tries to use the Action by clicking a software button, it undoes all of the edits carried out so far. Then, it posts a message at the top of the photograph: "Don't manipulate our perceptions of real beauty."
The deception isn’t permanent. The message also includes simple instructions to reverse the action, restoring the image that the designer has been working on to its former airbrushed state. All they have to do is click 'undo'.
It is designed as a gentle reminder that publishing unreal images of perfection can have a serious effect on women's own self-worth, especially among teen girls who are already grappling with self-esteem issues and negotiating their own body image.
It's a daring move from a company that has already put out some controversial and innovative material highlighting just how far published images of women depart from reality. Just check out this amazing video here, showing how a photo retoucher alters a model’s photograph before it is published.
What do you think? Should Dove Canada be deliberately deceiving professionals to get its message across?
Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets