Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
What's a beauty company to do when are people criticizing photoshopped ads and commercials are getting banned for misleading claims about products (e.g. Cheryl Cole wearing fake eyelashes in her mascara ad)? Apparently, they turn to "real women" (see our recent post on Make Up For Ever's casting call, for example).
A new UK campaign from Bare Minerals is upping the ante even higher, insisting that it's actually all about inner beauty. They cast their models based solely on personality, without seeing the women's faces. Big risk, or big attention grab? Lets look back at a few other "real beauty" campaigns and see how they fared.
•The most iconic of these EveryJane beauty ads was the hugely successful Dove Real Beauty campaign (pictured), which featured a variety of regular women with different body types standing in their underwear. However, it didn't take long for reporters to learn that Dove's casting call had asked for women "with flawless skin, no tattoos or scars" and that the ads had been touched up in postproduction. Oops!
•Germany's Brigitte magazine had a "model-free" issue where regular women appeared in all the photos.
•The campaign for Bobbi Brown's Pretty Powerful line featured regular women's before-and-after makeover photos (with Bobbi's products, of course) and benefited the charity Dress for Success.
•Olay's Mother's Day-themed Like Mother Like Daughter campaign featured real mom/daughter pairings, but the lion's share of the ads starred Gwyneth Paltrow and Blythe Danner.
Whether "real women" campaigns break down stereotypes about beauty or actually just smart PR moves, one thing's for sure: if the trend continues, the industry can certainly save a bundle on model salaries.
•Bare Minerals Launches Revolutionary Beauty Campaign [Marie Claire UK]
•Make Up for Ever Hosting Photoshop-Free Model Contest [Official Site]