The beauty business can often rightly be condemned for offering up an unachievable ideal of beauty, fuelling and exploiting women’s insecurities about their looks. (The men’s grooming market, if you exclude shaving, is still tiny by comparison.)
In our new work for ARK Skincare, we try to go the other way, mainly using pictures of real women (i.e. non-models) and trying to bolster self-esteem, not undermine it.
This may be a minority approach, but it’s certainly not unique. The most obvious example is Dove, which, beginning in 2005, made what was then the astounding decision to use real people as their models.
OK, these real people are at the good-looking end of the spectrum, but it turns out they don’t see themselves that way. You or I see an attractive woman, she only sees her ‘flaws’.
In their latest campaign, this insight was captured through a brilliant idea – get a forensic artist to draw people based on how they describe themselves, and then do a second sketch, from the description of someone who has just met them.
Compare the drawings and you see how less favourably they see themselves. It is very moving, because it is based on a truth we recognise. Not surprisingly, it is a YouTube sensation, with more than 44 million views at the time of posting.