In a week where it seems the world has truly lost its mind (yes, I’m talking about Trump), the new campaign Be Real Pledge, led by Dove, is a breath of fresh air amongst the negativity and previous misogynistic comments that have come from the President-elect.
Inviting organizations to reflect diversity and reality in their messages and advertising, the pledge is the latest calling from the industry to endorse a healthier body image and wellbeing, using the hashtag #PledgeToBeReal. In fact, it’s not just Dove that’s riding this wave; many brands are now realising that by creating more realistic media and advertising campaigns, they can use their global positions for the better. And as an industry that holds such responsibility for the messages it delivers, its a welcome development.
That’s right, if you hadn’t noticed, cosmetic and personal care brands have got real. I mean, Gigi and Kendall aren’t out of a job just yet – they will always have their place. But there has been a definite movement towards embracing the ‘real you’, warts and all. Indeed, as an increasing amount of real role models come into the spotlight – think Ashley Graham, Iskra Lawrence and even the curvy Kardashians – the millennial consumer is beginning to embrace themselves and all their natural beauty. And it’s about time too. If ever there was a time to embolden the young generation, promoting the ‘you’ of you, now is that time. And it’s even more essential now the aforementioned Trump is set to be in power, his past sexist comments doing quite the opposite of empowerment.
Trump aside, thankfully it is becoming clear our industry is starting to be that much more compassionate, caring, and supportive. And with the 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, finding that 74 percent of women and 67 percent of girls in the UK thinking the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty most women can never achieve, it’s about time that we stand together as an industry to change these perceptions for our young and influential consumers. But when did this movement really begin? Well, it was in fact Dove that can be thanked for kickstarting this craze way before ‘real’ got trendy. Its 2004 Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was an influencer of its time and aimed to celebrate women in all their various shapes and sizes, colors and physical variations. It was an innovative campaign, and one which, now, 12 years later, is being emulated by many brands hoping to capitalize on all our emboldened beauty buyers.
Fashion brand Free People has most recently jumped on the bandwagon, employing ‘non-models’ to promote its new beauty and wellness line, while direct sales giant Mary Kay has looked to its independent beauty consultants to star in its latest advertising campaign, using striking black and white imagery featuring its employees. And if L’Oréal is putting its weight behind a movement, you know its got legs. Indeed, the beauty giant has certainly embraced the trend with its new campaign that ‘celebrates diversity’ and features a male make-up artist.
So where does this ‘real you’ trend go from here? Well with celebs such as Alicia Keys and Mila Kunis promoting a fresh faced look, the beauty giants creating massive marketing campaigns where the likes of you or I could possibly get a shot at featuring (or probably not, let’s face it), 2017 looks set to become a hotbed for embracing your authentic self.
And, putting my money where my mouth is, I #PledgeToBeReal with this week’s blog photo. Unedited, with my A-Team. I encourage you to do the same!