Those Dove “Real Women” Ads Were Re-Touched

Remember those Dove "real women" ads that showed non-models posing in their underwear? They were popular ads precisely because they did not feature stereotypically hot women. A clever approach.

In this thoroughly interesting article on the world of Photoshopping photos, there’s this nugget:

…Retouchers tend to practice semi-clandestinely. “It is known that everybody does it, but they protest,” Dangin [one of the leading re-touchers] said recently. “The people who complain about retouching are the first to say, ‘Get this thing off my arm.’ ” 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.”


And for those writing nuts out there, here’s the obligatory "one paragraph physical description of the main character in the story" from the above-linked New Yorker story:

Dangin is on the short side, with a scruffy mustache and finger-in-the-socket frizz. He maintains the hours of a Presidential candidate; lately, he is a little tubbier than he would like. He was wearing, as is his custom, an all-navy outfit: New Balance sneakers, ratty cords, woollen sweater with holes in the armpits. He is not immune to the charms of things—he owns an Aston Martin, along with houses in Manhattan, Amagansett, and St. Bart’s—but, for someone who can pick apart a face in a matter of seconds (he once, apologetically, described his eyes as “high-speed scanners”), he is remarkably free of vanity. “I’m not a stud,” he told me one day. “I don’t have the six-pack chocolate bars, I have a belly. Would I want to look like that? Yes. Am I ever going to achieve that? No. Am I happy? Yes.” He has an earthy streak and a digressive manner of thought, but he issues orders commandingly.

Decent. Here’s an old post on physical descriptions that do or do not work.

2 comments on “Those Dove “Real Women” Ads Were Re-Touched
  • That’s well above decent.

    And can’t say I’m surprised. I was shocked by how readily everyone accepted the Dove ads as a genuine attempt to challenge advertising/gender/sexual/etc. conventions rather than a matter of good marketing.

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