As a woman-owned creative agency, BrandQuery has strived to build a body of work that reflects realistic images of women in our portfolio. It’s hasn’t always been easy, but over the years we’ve been blessed with clients who are compelled to connect with their female customers in a genuine and authentic way –using imagery that reflect real woman, “flaws” and all.
Recently, Unilever, the owner of brands including Dove and Lynx, pledged to drop all sexist stereotypes from its advertising after research suggested just 2% of ads show intelligent women.
Unilever even took it a step further when they created, “image_hack“ an interactive campaign changing the stereotypical way women are portrayed in media and marketing. By hacking stock photo sites, they intend to alter search results, and hopefully, alter the media landscape.
In the process, Dove teamed up with Mindshare Denmark and 5 award-winning advertising photographers and created a plethora of non-stereotypical pictures of women, and then uploaded them to the website. Soon photographers from all over the world joined the cause and in weeks, thousands of new non-stereotypical pictures were uploaded to the site; completely changing the content on the site.
Using their words, they found a back door to one of the biggest stock sites in the world, Shutterstock, which allows them to upload any image and tag it as they please. Using this to their benefit, they completely changed certain search results like “beautiful woman”, to results of real women that are much more authentic to the mainstream.
According to Dove, the job was still not done. They needed other brands to join the mission too. So, they ran ads that targeted advertisers and agencies, encouraging them to take part in the change. Advertisers in agencies from all over the country joined the initiative by running ads using the pictures that Dove uploaded and soon, the pictures were everywhere.
So far, the image_hack project has made the following impact: 1729 images are downloaded, 42 brands have joined the mission and the pictures received 40 million media impressions.
So, will you portray women authentically for your brand? We’d love to see how you’ve done it. Tell us about it, share it with us.