Surprise! Dove "campaign for real beauty" was retouched.

My my, you must be really really naive if you thought that the Dove campaign was't a tad retouched. Of course it was, retouch includes getting better colors and removing distracting stuff such as plain old dust, seams in clothing or stray strands of hair. Still, some people find this quote from an interview with Pascal Dangin in the New Yorker a 'shocking revelation'.

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.”

Ad age did their best sleuthing to suss out which campaign Pascal worked on.

While Mr. Dangin long has been known to work with Ms. Leibovitz, she wasn't the photographer on the earlier ads in the campaign that appear to have been referenced in the New Yorker profile.

Ms. Leibovitz was the photographer in a December 2005 shoot that ultimately became the basis for the Dove Pro-Age version of the campaign that broke in early 2007. That effort featured women in their 50s and 60s nude, not in their underwear.

Brandrepublic does one better and publishes denials from Dove, Annie Leibovitz and Pascal himself.

Dove said that it had an understanding with Leibovitz that the photos would not be retouched and that the only actions taken were the removal of dust from the film and minor colour correction.

Leibovitz confirmed in a statement for Dove: "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 from the beginning. There was to be no retouching and there was not."

Dangin said: "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 colour correction -- both the integrity of the photographs and the women's natural beauty were maintained."

Dove - Evolution (2006) 1:15 (Canada)

Dove's new pro-age campaign for real beauty, banned because of nudity
Ogilvy Düsseldorf – No real beauties. 06/08/2005
Buxom babes for Dove March 29, 2004
Embracing Real Beauty January 18, 2005
Embracing Real Beauty (part 2)
Embracing Real Beauty (Part 3)

See also the best spoof (so far)
Foster Farms - Transformation - (2008) :70 (USA)

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