Beauty industry blamed for making women feel bad about themselves

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Beauty industry, Advertising

According to a new survey from YouGov, women are pointing the
finger at marketing and advertising campaigns conducted by the
beauty industry featuring unrealistic female images for giving them
a low opinion of themselves.

The survey, which was carried out by the BBC's money programme, claims that one in three women think that media images portraying slim beautiful women make them feel overweight and unattractive.

Increasingly the beauty industry is marketing products that aim to help women achieve ideals of physical perfection. This has led to a plethora of products that fight wrinkles, cellulite, cover up gray hair and generally seek to improve the looks women, and increasingly men.

But for some time industry experts have been pointing to a backlash. An increasingly obese populations seem to be falling shorter and shorter of the ideals that many beauty companies are bombarding them, and it seems that consumers have had enough.

Indeed the much criticised and much praised Dove advertising campaign from Unilever seems to have hit the button for many individuals feeling increasingly ostracised by a beauty industry that appears out of touch with the way women and, and indeed men, appear and feel these days.

As the rate of obesity in the many European countries edges towards 30 per cent and nearly six out of ten females in the UK say that they wish they were slimmer, it seems that the increased pressure to look good is leading to discontent on a large scale.

However, the Dove Real Beauty campaign is the first to go against using females with perfect bodies and model-like appearance. In its international campaign, launched last year, it has featured women well over ninety years old, and of all shapes and sizes, in an effort to build up an empathy with its consumer.

The Dove brand's move to stray away from the conventional images of what is intrinsically a level of beauty that most females will never be able to attain has proved to be a very cunning move.

But it's not only the consumers that like it. Even the advertising industry has applauded the campaign. Earlier this month the company received the Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America for 'challenging industry's stereotypical view of women and celebrating their true diversity'.

The success has also translated into the company's financial results, with sales of what is currently the world's number one cleansing brand currently topping $2.5bn a year and still growing in double digit figures.

However, the success of the campaign might be threatened as the competition picks up on the strength of its message.

L'Oreal has already reacted, by targeting older women with campaigns that feature realistic images of Hollywood stars such as 60 year-old Diane Keaton and 68-year old Jane Fonda to promote cosmetic products specifically targeting older women.

Could it eventually be that we will soon long to see 'good old days' of flawless beauty on billboards?

Related topics: Market Trends, Skin Care, Hair Care

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