- CVS Pharmacy announced that it will stop "materially" altering beauty images in brand-created marketing materials that appear in stores, online and on social media, the company said in a press release.
- The company will place a "CVS Beauty Mark" icon on images that have not been digitally modified to alter a person's shape, size, eye color or wrinkles. The small icon will start to appear on materials this year with the goal of converting all images in the company's beauty sections by the end of 2020.
- The initiative aims to boost transparency in the company's beauty department and marketing to promote positive body perceptions and let customers differentiate between authentic and digitally altered imagery. CVS is also calling on other beauty brands, including Revlon, L'Oréal and Johnson & Johnson, to join the initiative, according to The Wall Street Journal.
With its new transparency initiative, CVS aims to tap into consumers' growing desire to see diversity, authenticity and transparency in their marketing. The chain is leveraging its significant retail presence curry favor with consumers as a health and beauty powerhouse that has a socially conscious message while looking to lead the industry as consumer demands for positive messaging grows.
The success of brand campaigns like Dove's Real Beauty reflect how realistic portrayals of beauty and positive gender messaging can be a big hit with consumers, who increasingly respond to brands that break gender stereotypes and promote healthier messages when it comes to body perception and beauty. In a survey by Choozle, a self-service programmatic ad platform, 36% of consumers appreciated brands that shunned stereotypes, and 25% said they would be more likely to purchase from those brands. Feelings were mixed about whether advertisers are responsible for using their content to break the stereotypes.
Consumers are also more responsive to transparency and authenticity, something marketers should consider for future campaigns. To help more marketers embrace realistic beauty imagery, the Association of National Advertisers launched #SeeHer, a gender-equality initiative, and a toolkit for marketers to help them make better decisions about gender equality when they create branded content.
CVS follows a long line of companies creating initiatives that support more positive and realistic representations of beauty and body images.
Dove has been a major player in the body-positive marketing space. Since launching the "Campaign for Real Beauty" nearly 15 years ago, the company has won multiple awards and helped lead the charge in similar efforts.
However, these efforts don't always accomplish their intended goals, pointing to the delicate balance brands must find in developing strategies around socially-conscious messaging. For example, a well-intended packaging play for Dove body wash last year was widely criticized for making unflattering comparisons to women's bodies. Despite Dove's rare misstep, more brands are embarking on body positive strategies. Playtex recently launched the #PlaytexPositivity social media campaign to promote its Love My Curves line. Other brands have focused on female empowerment in their messaging, such as Revlon, which recently named "Wonder Woman" star Gal Gadot as its brand ambassador.