17 Jan, 2018

CVS Takes Initiative To Break Unrealistic Beauty Standards


Earlier this week, CVS announced that its marketing initiatives will change, hoping to “reflect transparency” to customers and to be more authentic by straying away from altering images throughout campaigns found on social media and CVS.com. The giant healthcare company and beauty retailer is committed to creating an effort that supports a more accurate representation of what people actually look like, as opposed to an altered reality.

The thinking is that we’re a big healthcare company, but also an important beauty retailer, and we see those two parts of our business as connected from the consumer view,” said Helena Foulkes, who runs CVS’s retail business. “Having an unrealistic body image is a significant driver of health issues.” Capitol Communicator reports.

CVS has asked other beauty brands like Revlon, L’Oréal and Johnson & Johnson to join this movement, which will change the standard of beauty and make for overall authentic marketing campaigns. Since CVS is so connected to the consumer, making these changes is a direct initiative to create a completely different customer experience.

The Changing Beauty Standard

Marketing initiatives have a large influence on consumer behavior because they deliver messages to large audiences. Those messages can either be positive or negative and usually express values depending on the company. In 2018, we are constantly exposed to marketing initiatives and campaigns, whether on social media or through online efforts. This gives brands a large responsibility to make sure the messages that are being sent to consumers are clear.

In recent years, different brands from industries like the beauty industry, for example, have worked to make sure they are representing positive beauty standards for women. Marketing campaigns have an influence on things like body image, which has been a heavily debated topic among society.

Experts believe that beauty companies who idolize specific body types or who alter a persons body shape, eye color, or skin color tend to mislead consumers to believe unrealistic standards, causing long-term mental health issues, like eating disorders.

“Editing photos to improve women’s appearance in beauty product marketing is “rampant” and “plagues our culture,” said Jennifer Berger, executive director of San Francisco-based women’s empowerment group About-Face.” USA Today reports.

The Power Of Images

Of course, visual components are so important in marketing campaigns, that they make a difference in the success of the brand. Consumers love visual aids to guide their purchasing decisions. The visual components that marketing professionals choose to put into their campaigns can either make or break the success of the brand.

“When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.”  Hub Spot Marketing reports. 

Brands are catching on to the fact that they have a massive influence on how consumers view beauty standards. Along with CVS’ recent initiatives, brands like Dove and Secret have made efforts to support positive beauty ideals among women through a variety of campaigns that “break the beauty mold” in society.

CVS taking an initiative to no longer edit photos found in marketing campaigns is an effort that has the ability to completely change the way brands convey messages to consumers.

Well done, CVS.


With 53% of Marketers planning on adopting Artificial Intelligence in the next 2 years, the digital marketing revolution is just getting started. CMOs and CDOs alike are seeking new ways to maximize their digital reach to attract new business to, as well as deliver enrich, personalized experiences to existing customers.

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