Skin care company Dove has targeted airbrushers and photo manipulators with a Photoshop action in an attempt to take its "real beauty" campaign viral. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was launched just under a decade ago with the aim to "change the status quo and offer in its place a broader, healthier, more democratic view of beauty." After multiple ad campaigns, Dove is this time trying to send a message to the artists that manipulate photos by releasing a Photoshop action called "Beautify" that reverts images to their original state and overlays a banner proclaiming "don't manipulate our perceptions of real beauty."
As a concept, Dove's tactic is novel, although its video revealing the scam fails to mention how many times "Beautify" was downloaded, nor how its attempts to lure artists to download it via Reddit failed to gain traction. We actually gave the action a trial, and found that it was fairly ineffective. Despite the video above showing the step-by-step reversal, the action fails to revert any changes when dealing with a multiple-layer image. As image manipulation is usually the result of hundreds of layers of changes, the only change most artists will have seen is the banner, which admittedly is still a fairly effective way to make a point.
One question mark that has persisted throughout Dove's real beauty campaign is motive. Is Dove really attempting to bring about social change in our perceptions of beauty? Or does it simply understand that the majority of its customers probably don't look like the airbrushed models used in so many advertisements, and is marketing its products towards them? After all, other brands owned by Dove's parent company, Unilever, don't seem to be taking the real beauty message seriously — just look at Axe's commercials.