The latest ad in Dove’s long-running “Campaign for Real Beauty” launched earlier this month.
The spot explores what would happen if women from different locations all around the world were asked to choose to enter a building through one of two doors, one reading “Beautiful,” and another reading “Average.” It follows the classic Dove storyline: Women feel self-conscious and insecure about their looks, but if they build up the courage to think beautiful, they will feel better about themselves.
The video gives the impression that the ad is a kind of documentary, asking real women from all over the world — San Francisco, Shanghai, Delhi, London, Sao Paulo — to “Choose Beautiful.” There’s even a behind-the-scenes video showing how the production team travelled all over the world to see how real women in different cities would react differently.
But that does not appear to be quite the case, at least in one of the filming locations.
Writing in a column for UK trade magazine Marketing, Tom Ellis-Jones business director at ZAK Media Group, believes he has found evidence that the casting for women to appear in the ads was “perfectly engineered” and that one of the women who took part was an actress.
He points out a tweet, from Dezi Soley, who describes herself on her Twitter bio as an “actor, dancer, model, performer, and writer,” based in Oakland, California:
And here’s a woman that looks an awful lot like Soley in the opening scene of the ad:
Business Insider has contacted Dove-owner Unilever for comment and we will update this article once we hear back.
Of course, Dove is not necessarily doing anything wrong by using an actress in its adverts: For one, Soley might not have been participating in her “actor” capacity, she might simply have been asked to take part as a “real women.” And the reactions from Soley, and other women in the ad, may well be genuine.
Nevertheless, as Ellis-Jones points out in his column: “Now go back and watch through the remaining 3.5 minutes and tell me it’s hard not to seriously question it’s [sic] authenticity; the two friends sat on the sofa, the mother and daughter, the woman in the wheelchair being pushed triumphantly through the word “Beautiful”. These are all terrible clichés being dressed up as a genuine social experiment.”
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