The Genuine Index: Dove's injectable billboard shines a light on beauty shots
Dove presented a new installation titled "Injectable Billboard" in Canada in an effort to draw attention to the number of teenagers taking beauty shots. Displayed in a Toronto mall, the billboard represents the number of teenagers who have received syringe-based beauty treatments in the past year with over 50,000 syringes inserted into the flesh-like board.
The Genuine Index panel acknowledged that the campaign aligns with Dove’s longstanding efforts to enhance young people's body image and self-esteem. This is not a one-off. However, the billboard crucially lacked a call to action. What exactly was the viewer supposed to do about this situation?
Invasive treatments are inevitably a big issue for young people, particularly with the rise of AI-powered facial filters on popular social media platforms such as Tiktok. The billboard gets this across clearly but does not follow up with anything. The panel agreed that it was a cop out to only start a conversation. Suggestions to enhance the message included incorporating a hotline for young people struggling with self-esteem, or directing viewers to an online interactive space where they could be educated and ask questions.
The panel additionally agreed that the billboard seemingly did not have a stance on the information it was presenting. Why not choose a side? Perhaps to condemn these treatments for teenagers and call for legislation for stricter controls? The mall might not be a place for this, to be fair.
A few Genuine Index panelists questioned whether Dove were advising against invasive treatments to lead consumers to their anti-aging and anti-wrinkle products.
Overall, all judges agreed that the campaign was visually stunning and had shock-factor. However, despite aligning with Dove’s message to promote inclusive beauty and challenge societal beauty standards, it lacked the substance to actually achieve this.
The Genuine Index Series 2 - 2023 Arsenal’s No More Red = 7.33 People Like Us Are Working = 6.7 Peugeot’s Girls Like Cars Too = -3.5 Trainline’s Waterloo takeover = 1.8 Sky's Footprint Fund = 1.6
Dove's injectable billboard = 0.16
* -10.0 (Total BS & Corporate Wash) - 10.0 (Totally Genuine). Our scores are an average of individual panel members’ individual scores.