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Dove hires a forensic artist to show how wrong a woman's self-perceptions can be (Video)

An example of one of the sketches from the forensic artist in the Dove "True Beauty" ad campaign video.

When I look in the mirror, I tend to focus on the things I don’t like. The blemishes. My hair never looks quite right. 

But now, in a new video ad campaign (which you can see above), Dove is telling me I’m better looking than I think. And it’s not even directly peddling its products as it tells me I’m beautiful. 

In the video, Dove tries an unusual experiment. It hired a forensic artist – someone who normally sketches composites of criminals based on what witnesses tell him.

Dove asked the artist to draw women based on their descriptions of themselves. He can’t see the women. He’s separated from them by a curtain. Then, the artist draws the same women based on a stranger’s description of them.

There are startling differences between the two pictures. 

The sketches based on the women’s descriptions of themselves show chunkier, sadder women. Wrinkles and circles under eyes predominate. The pictures sketched from the strangers’ perspective show more open, relaxed and prettier faces.

So, maybe I’m being a little hard on myself?

Maybe a stranger wouldn’t notice the blemishes. Or the circles under my eyes from being up half the night with a sick child.

Will this make me use Dove soap? No. But it’s nice that they’re trying to break away from typical beauty product marketing campaigns, which are usually designed to make women feel bad about themselves, so they reach for products advertised as solutions to their supposed beauty problems.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

An example of one of the sketches from the forensic artist in the Dove "True Beauty" ad campaign video.

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