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Dove wants to cleanse the ill-effects of selfie culture

The Dove Self-Esteem Project wants to reverse the negative effects of social media.

Selfies are the pieces of evidence that the future historians and chroniclers will use to dissect the cultural zeitgeist of our times. For many young girls today, selfies turn their self-esteem upside down. So, Dove soap wants to do something about it.

Unilever (Dove’s parent company) has come out with The Dove Self-Esteem Project. It features a 60-second ad, made by Ogilvy, which shows how much pressure young girls feel regarding their appearance on social media when they post a selfie.

“By age 13, 80 per cent of the girls distort the way they look online. Let’s change that. Social media is a big part of young people’s lives, but retouching apps and the pressure to post the ‘perfect selfie’ are hurting their self-esteem and confidence. Have the selfie talk with a girl you love to reverse the damage and celebrate real beauty. The Dove Self-Esteem Project can show you how,” says the ad’s description on YouTube.

Firdaous El Honsali, global communication and sustainability director, Dove, added, "For over 60 years, Dove has advocated for real beauty. Part of that is our 'no digital distortion' mark – that tells you that the people in our ads are just as you'd see them in real life. With the rise of social media, digital distortion is now happening on a much bigger scale, by younger people, without regulation.”

“We see so much creativity and expression of self-identity through the use of filters. But when editing apps are used to digitally distort images to conform to unrealistic beauty standards that can't be achieved in real life, it can be damaging to the self-esteem of young people. Dove wants to highlight this issue and provide tools to parents and carers to help young people navigate social media in a positive way."

Dove has also created a microsite that offers a downloadable ‘Parents Kit’ and ‘Teachers Kit’, which the adults can use to “have the selfie talk with a young person... reverse the negative effects of social media and build resilience.”

This campaign comes 15 years after the soap brand’s iconic ‘Dove Campaign for Real Beauty’, which was aimed at building self-confidence in women and young children. The famed series of billboard advertisements featured photographs of regular women, instead of models.