BY Elizabeth Carlson (’17)

Advertising agencies go through a lot of image searches when they are coming up with a campaign for a specific brand. Usually agencies use a “stock” website so that they can buy the image and have a license or rights to use that image without copyright problems. Adweek recently published a powerful article titled, “How Dove is ‘Hacking’ Photography to Change the Way Advertising Depicts Women.”

A creative director in Denmark at an agency called Mindshare realized that when you search “beautiful woman” or “real woman” in one of the stock photo websites called Shutterstock it came up with all these flawless pictures of women instead of what people should see beautiful women as, which is strong, hardworking and active. Take a look at the video below.

Dove was pitched the idea and they loved it. The article says, “For Dove, it has never been about Dove; it’s about making an actual difference in society. Great brands hold great power, and therefore, great responsibilities.”

Dove conducted research in 2016 called the Global Beauty & Confidence Report. The results revealed that 68% of women could NOT identify with the image they have seen in ads for different companies. That’s more than two-thirds of women! Realizing this statistic, Mindshare created “Image_Hack.”

The agency asked five award-winning advertising photographers to take part in this effort by photographing non-stereotypical images of women “being” beautiful. The results were amazing. Photographers from all over the world began joining the “Image_Hack” just weeks after Mindshare created the concept.

To be clear, there was not an actual “hack.” Shutterstock makes it easy for people to become contributors to its site. Users can upload and tag images however they wish. That is the method that Mindshare used.

Kenneth Kaadtmann is the creative director at Mindshare in Denmark, and he is the mastermind behind this movement. Once they had the pictures and uploaded and tagged on Shutterstock, he needed to go beyond that. So, he formulated using the images that were taken and speaking to advertising and media agencies through ads.

On International Women’s Day this past March 8, the ads were posted all over Denmark in front or near major advertising and media agencies. Soon those brands were using the images that Mindshare had uploaded to Shutterstock.

At the end of the article, Kaadtmann is quoted saying, “Whether we accomplished the mission only the future will tell. We can tell you that we do get a lot of downloads and can only assume that a lot of brands are using some of these images.”

This is a huge movement in the advertising world and I hope that advertising and media agencies around the world continue to keep using these kinds of images to better portray women in society today.

Full article and the images that were used in advertisements around Denmark.

Feature Image: Unsplash

2016-09-30-fyf-elizabeth-carlson-dsc_0057-thumbnailElizabeth is a senior graphic design major and an advertising minor. When she is not in the classroom, she is Assistant Design Editor for The Wood Word, or she is playing for the women’s soccer team at Marywood. 



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