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Ad of the Day: Dove reverses selfie edits to highlight dangers of social media

In a time before digital, glossy photoshopped ads in women’s mags were condemned for their part in generating a dangerously idealized definition of beauty. Today young girls face the same problem, but it has been magnified.

Claiming that by the age of 13, 80% of girls distort the way they look online, beauty brand Dove is on a mission to tackle the issue of real beauty standards in a digital era. It is using its platform to highlight the widespread damage caused by the trend of heavily edited selfies, with 'Reverse Selfie'. Read our full interview with the team behind the ad to find out how it was made.

Created by Ogilvy, Reverse Selfie features a young girl locked into the artificial world of social media. We are introduced to her in the form of a highly edited photograph, that she has posted with the caption ’my new look’.

As the name suggests, the campaign is a story told in reverse, revealing which digital effects were used to create the image.

The first to go is the filter. Using ’Photofix’ we see that her ’perfect’ selfie is the result of an app that enables her to modify her face. Her hair gets less thick, her chin returns back to its normal shape. We see that she’s made her eyes bigger, her nose smaller and has erased all skin blemishes to a perfect glow.

The ad goes on to deconstruct her makeup routine, engineered to capture the perfect selfie. The reverse journey ends with her staring at the mirror, obviously discontent with the way she looks.

‘The pressure of social media is harming our girls’ self-esteem,’ states the ad. ’More screen time during the pandemic has made things worse. Have the selfie talk today.’

It is a sequel to ’Evolution’, an ad Dove released in 2006, which highlighted the false and unrealistic nature of the beauty ideals perpetuated by the advertising industry and the media.

This 2021 campaign marks the beginning of a new, freshly activist chapter for Dove, as the brand steps up its efforts to change the toxic nature of the beauty industry and highlight threats to the self-esteem of young people across the world.

You can watch ‘Reverse Selfie’ in full above or click on the Creative Works gallery below to vote for it. To get in touch about Ad of the Day, please email imogen.watson@thedrum.com.

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