Dove: Deny! Deny! Deny!

Posted by: Burth Helm on May 9, 2008

blog dove proage1.jpg

So earlier this week, a New Yorker story implied Dove had airbrushed its Campaign for Real Beauty ads — a practice which the brand has long boasted it doesn’t do. Last night, after a full day of silence, parent company Unilever sent a statement sticking to its story. None of the photos featured in the Campaign for Real Beauty were “digitally altered,” the statement said, and photo re-toucher Pascal Dangin did not work on the underwear ads, but on photos for Dove ProAge, like the one above.

Huh. To recap, here’s the relevant excerpt from The New Yorker’s May 12 profile:

“I mentioned the Dove ad campaign that proudly featured lumpier-than-usual “real women” in their undergarments. It turned out that it was a Dangin job. “Do you know how much retouching was on that?” he asked. “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”

Here’s what Dangin is now saying, via a statement sent by a Dove spokesperson:

Mr. Dangin responded, “The recent article published by The New Yorker incorrectly implies that I retouched the images in connection with the Dove “real women” ad. I only worked on the Dove ProAge campaign taken by Annie Leibovitz and was directed only to remove dust and do color correction – both the integrity of the photographs and the women’s natural beauty were maintained.”

Something ain’t right. I’ll keep digging to see what I can find out.

The full statement from Dove, with quotes from both Dangin and photographer Annie Liebovitz, is after the jump.

Unilever's statement:

Dove's mission is to make more women feel beautiful every day by widening the definition of beauty and inspiring them to take great care of themselves. Dove strives to portray women by accurately depicting their shape, size, skin color and age.

The “real women” ad referenced in recent media coverage was created and produced entirely by Ogilvy, the Dove brand’s advertising agency, from start to finish and the women’s bodies were not digitally altered.

Pascal Dangin worked with photographer Annie Leibovitz (Ogilvy has never employed Mr. Dangin on the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty), who did the photography for the launch of the Dove ProAge campaign, a new campaign within the Campaign for Real Beauty. There was an understanding between Dove and Ms. Leibovitz that the photos would not be retouched - the only actions taken were the removal of dust from the film and minor color correction.

"Let's be perfectly clear - Pascal does all kinds of work - but he is primarily a printer - and only does retouching when asked to. The idea for Dove was very clear at the beginning. There was to be NO retouching and there was not," confirmed Annie Leibovitz, commenting on the ProAge campaign.

Mr. Dangin responded, “The recent article published by The New Yorker incorrectly implies that I retouched the images in connection with the Dove “real women” ad. I only worked on the Dove ProAge campaign taken by Annie Leibovitz and was directed only to remove dust and do color correction – both the integrity of the photographs and the women’s natural beauty were maintained.”

 

About

News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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