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PR Stunts: Dove ‘Restores’ Photoshopped Models

It’s been nearly ten years since Dove introduced “Real Beauty“, one of the 2000′s best rebranding campaigns. Its focus on “real-looking” models helped distinguish Dove in the crowded beauty category–and the company’s Canadian division just used a crafty PR stunt to try and extend that winning streak.

First Dove posted a download on Reddit that supposedly offered users a free tool to help retouch photographs by “enhanc[ing] skin tone” and “hiding all the imperfections”–in other words, all the things that Dove’s campaign opposed. But when users pressed the button, this “tool” reversed all the modifications to the image in question. (They could then “undo” the reversal, but the point had been made.)

This “hack” was a sneaky attempt to once again push the claim that Dove keeps things real in an industry dominated by digital tummy tucks, facelifts and tone-ups. In the video below, the company directly calls out “art directors, graphic designers and photo retouchers” for using Photoshop and other tools to promote unrealistic ideals  (never mind the fact that Dove has been accused of doing the very same thing).

Oh, and this is all part of a larger campaign which includes the hashtag #DovePositiveChange and a Facebook “Ad makeover” app which purportedly lets users revise ad spots designed to play on insecurities by promising to help women improve their appearance.

So is this another branding win for Dove, or do they need to stop pushing the same old concept?

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