Following last year’s powerful ‘Reverse Selfie’ campaign, Unilever-owned Dove has released another hard-hitting film detailing the toxic beauty advice that many teens come across on their social media feeds.
‘Toxic Influence’ features various mother-daughter duos engaging in conversations around the beauty advice that is prevalent on apps such as Instagram. The film begins with one of the moms somewhat naively stating: “In terms of her building her confidence, it can build her confidence” in regard to what her child sees online, with her daughter commenting that most of the people she follows have had a good influence on her.
As the film continues, the producers ask the young women to start scrolling on their phones and the message ‘most parents underestimate how harmful toxic beauty advice can be on social media’ pops up on the screen.
Taking a darker turn, the video then states that using face-mapping technology Dove has quite literally put the toxic advice of some influencers into the mouths of the mothers. Shocked, the families look on as the moms say, “Botox is amazing, you’re never too young to start” and ”if your teeth are uneven you can always file them down with a nail file.”
“We did some social listening and we were quite shocked by some of the advice,” noted Daniel Fisher, global executive creative director at Ogilvy and WPP.
“The stuff that they are being advised to do, you couldn’t make it up.”
Viewers can see that it is harrowing and emotional for the mothers to watch, but sadly not so shocking for the young girls as they all admit it is advice that they see online all the time.
The film was directed by Henry Alex-Reuben, who is also responsible for the stark Sandy Hook Promise: Teenage Dream video.
“We’ve identified a clear problem that is eroding the self-esteem of our girls and needs immediate attention and action,” said Leandro Barreto, global vice-president of Dove.
“We created this #DetoxYourFeed campaign to not only raise awareness around the insidious nature of toxic beauty advice, but to also help parents navigate tough conversations and empower teens to unfollow content that makes them feel bad about themselves. While it may be a bit overwhelming at times, we hope it will contribute to important conversations that lead to a more positive experience for teens on social media.”
To coincide with the film, the Dove Self-Esteem Project is launching the #DetoxYourFeed campaign to empower young people to define their own beauty standards and choose their own influences by inviting them to unfollow anything that doesn’t make them feel good about themselves. According to research conducted by the brand, seven in 10 girls felt better after unfollowing idealized beauty content on social media.
To help spread the message, Dove is partnering with actress Gabrielle Union and her stepdaughter Zaya Wade to remind everyone that you have the power to curate your own feed and overall social media experience.
“As a parent and someone who’s felt the pressures from social media to look perfect, it’s important to me that people realize what’s on their teens’ feeds and help them confidently navigate conversations about it,” added Union.
14-year-old Wade noted: “I want people to know they can prioritize themselves and set boundaries on social media, and that it can be a positive place if you unfollow content that doesn’t make you feel good.”
To make conversations within families easier, Dove has also developed academically-validated resources and tools to help parents navigate important conversations with their kids.