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Dove commits to shunning AI and representing "real" beauty 20 years after trailblazing campaign launch

Lauretta Roberts
10 April 2024

Dove has committed to shunning the use of AI in its imagery and reaffirmed its position to represent "real" beauty 20 years after the launch of its groundbreaking Campaign for Real Beauty. Singer-songwriter Jessie J is partnering with the brand to spread the message.

The Campaign for Real Beauty was unveiled in 2024 and was a catalyst for change in the way beauty products were advertised and marketed.

To mark its anniversary the bodycare brand has conducted a landmark study called The Real State of Beauty that reveals, despite progress made in with more inclusive beauty imagery, the pressure to achieve beauty ideals has intensified.

In 2004, Dove's research revealed that only 2% of women considered themselves to be beautiful while in 2024 two in five women say they would give up a year of their life to achieve an ideal look or body, while two in three believe that women today are expected to be more physically attractive than their mother's generation was.

Dove

The original Dove Campaign for Real Beauty from 2004

The checklist for what constitutes an ideal body reveals standards that are almost impossible to meet, from looking healthy (79%) to also being slim (71%), having a small waist (66%) while also being curvy (55%).

Dove believes that one of the biggest threats to the representation of real beauty today is AI with nine out of 10 girls saying they have been exposed to potentially harmful beauty content online.

A vast amounts of online content is generated by AI but women still feel pressure to conform to what they see, even if they know it is not real.

Dove

Jessie J is supporting the campaign

As such Dove has pledged to shun the technology and is working with Jessie J to spread the message. The singer-songwriter said: “It’s no secret that across the world, including the music industry, women, girls and those who identify as non-binary, face a huge amount of pressure about the way they look. The trends are ever changing and more intense and so it’s a never-ending trap and box to fit in of what “beauty” is. It’s unhealthy, unrealistic, and relentless.

"Social media and emerging technology like AI are accelerating that pressure at an alarming rate. It’s terrifying what it could do to the now and the future generations of young people trying to work out life and who they are. That’s why I am honoured and passionate to be working with Dove to keep beauty real and honest to who we are. I will continue to use my voice to celebrate the diversity of all women.”

According to the Dove study many women enjoy using AI to create different versions of themselves with 28% of women and 41% of girls saying they found the ability to do so "empowering".

“Despite 20 years of work to broaden definitions of beauty, women feel less confident in their own beauty than they did a decade ago,” explains Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, Research Psychologist at the Centre of Appearance Research at the University of West England and body image expert. “Representation is more important than ever. As AI technology continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between what is real beauty and what is manufactured by AI.”

To help set new digital standards of representation, Dove will create the Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines, easy to use guidance for everyone on how to create images that are representative of Real Beauty on the most popular generative AI programs.

“At Dove, we seek a future in which women get to decide and declare what real beauty looks like – not algorithms. As we navigate the opportunities and challenges that come with new and emerging technology, we remain committed to protect, celebrate, and champion Real Beauty. Pledging to never use AI in our communications is just one step. We will not stop until beauty is a source of happiness, not anxiety, for every woman and girl,” said Alessandro Manfredi, Chief Marketing Officer, Dove 


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