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News & Insight

Dove Targets Photo Retouchers with a Hacked Photoshop Action

By Jules Ebe on March 9th 2013

As part of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, the company targeted retouchers by releasing a Trojan laden Photoshop action. The free action was marketed as a way to add a “beautiful glow”.

dove 1

Once activated, the Trojan reversed any retouches done on the active layer and added a banner with a message for the user:

dove 2

Though many have a mixed response to the motives and execution of Dove’s campaign, the overall premise was quite inventive and witty. Maybe they should have brought in some of those “manipulators” to create a more appealing and creative action in order to reach a larger audience for their message.

Dove: Thought Before Action


Until next time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. seo gear chris douthit

    search engine optimisation have created this impact high on the worldwide promotion plans. Generally, this formerly (as well as better) a site seems from the distinct exploration final results list, the an extensive much bigger website site views it’s going to receive caused from your quest car.

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  2. Jack

    Some photographers have their airbrush to make people look/feel better.
    Dove has their soap to make people look/feel better.

    What makes Dove any better?

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  3. Peter

    If painters are allowed to reinterpret the subjects they paint, why can’t I do the same with my photos? 
    To me, it seems like every other form of art, even other areas of photography, are allowed to make changes to the things they interpret. Industrial Light and Magic created a 3D digital version of New York city for the Avengers film, with the live action content shot in a Mexican green screen studio. They also airbrushed the crap out of each actor.So why are Dove targeting photographers? It’s as if they want portrait photography to become some holy grail of pure documentation where humans are required to remain untouched – but there is more to the puzzle than that. If they really cared, they’d be attacking every industry and all areas of photography in which people are manipulated.But they don’t care. Photography is an easy target because people understand it. Nobody can comprehend the 3D compositing that goes into blockbusters like Avengers…All marketing, no substance.

    My subjects love what I create, hence why they continue to return and I have a business. I don’t feed off people having low self esteem. I make people feel incredible about themselves. Dove is doing anything but by telling people they need soap to be beautiful.

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  4. Jukka

    Haters gonna hate

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  5. Tony Guillaro

    I’m sorry but who the fuck do they think they are???

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  6. Thomas Lawn

    This is not a trojan. This is simply an action that does something different than it claims to.

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  7. Shmaw Shank

    An absurd appeal to emotion, misguided and ridiculous.  Insulting to my and your intelligence.  

    Our “perception of real beauty”?  Hop on to Youtube and look for a Dove commercial.  One of the first ones I found, they have a perfect-skinned model “manipulating our perception of real beauty”.  Retouchers don’t alter images to make women impossibly beautiful.  They make them exceptionally beautiful – like in the top 0.1%.  Ridiculously beautiful women that you find in the magazines do exist, even if rarely.        

    The “manipulation of our perception of ‘real beauty'” occurs through the ubiquitous exposure to these perfectly-edited images.  One could argue it changes society’s standards of beauty.  Just like the vast majority of women wearing concealer, foundation, eye makeup, high heels, spanx, hosiery, and purchasing specific cleansing products.  

    Dove does this too: 

    Am I supposed to buy that this woman is a woman of average or typical beauty?  So Dove’s problem isn’t with propagating the societal misperception of beauty, their problem is that an edited photo is 5-10% too perfect for their taste.  Not to mention that the woman in this ad clearly has makeup on; it’s implied that her skin is so perfect and clean because of Dove’s products.  Unbelievable hypocrosy.    

    A fat fold that might appear in one pose does not appear in another.  Distortion from a lens can make body parts appear larger or smaller, more or less curvaceous.  Clothing can emphasize or de-emphasize certain features.  Retouchers have to mitigate all of these factors.  Reduce distractions and create focus in an image.  A model with a shifted hip and a tiny fat fold in her waist is not necessarily “ugly” – but the human eye is immediately drawn to things like this, drawing focus away from the product or the balance of the overall image.  

    Dove knows exactly what they’re doing.  Marketing.  Leading ignorant fools in a charge against an industry they helped create (people purchase products with well-edited ads and don’t purchase products with poorly-edited ads – fact of reality).  Because it’s hip to wage war against this industry, all the while being a part of it, they’re using that as their marketing angle.

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  8. Chris Paxman

    the whole thing seems kinda “stunt-ee” how many ‘art directors’ or professional retouchers get their actions from “reddit” …

    and on top of that seems like kind of a waste of time and effort because other than photographers…what part of the worlds population has any idea what a ‘photoshop action’ is.

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