Dove says it won’t use AI to represent women in advertising

  • Global beauty and wellness brand Dove has said it will never use AI to replace real women in advertising.
  • This comes on the back of women reporting negative opinions of themselves based on what they see on the internet.
  • The brand is also creating “Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines” which gives people a way to use AI to generate images of women that represent real beauty.

The realm of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) has entrenched itself in the arts. Whether it’s creating a song, a video, or an image, automated processes threaten the jobs of countless artists the world over.

This is because rather than commissioning an artist, companies can plug a few prompts into a bot and get an image in a few minutes. This has lead to severe backlash for brands and as such, the practice of using AI in marketing material is very much a taboo.

Manufacturer of beauty products Dove has announced that it won’t be using AI to represent women in its advertising, ever. Well, except for the video below where AI is used to prove a point.

“Artificial Intelligence is transforming the way we consume and experience beauty, with women and girls at the forefront of its influence. AI-created or altered toxic beauty images are proliferating and reinforcing impossible to achieve beauty expectations. At Dove, we remain committed to protect, celebrate, and champion Real Beauty,” says public relations lead for Beauty Wellness & personal care categories at Dove, Anele Nzimande.

The decision to avoid AI representing women in advertising comes as modern beauty standards impact the mental health of women. In South Africa, Dove’s Real State of Beauty survey found that 63 percent of women in South Africa struggle with mid to low levels of self-esteem. The survey also found that the levels of confidence South African women have of their beauty has plummeted from 93 percent in 2016 to 72 percent in 2024.

“The results underscore a concerning trend, particularly in South Africa, where the decline in body esteem and confidence among women and girls calls for urgent action. Beauty should be a source of confidence, not anxiety. These statistics are a stark reminder of the work still needed to dismantle unattainable beauty standards and foster a culture of inclusivity and self-acceptance,” said Mpoomy Ledwaba, founder of wellness hub, Wisdom & Wellness, and a Dove ambassador.

The brand says it’s working to develop “Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines” which gives people a way to use AI to generate images of women that represent real beauty and not an airbrushed and artificially smoothed image of a person. This comes as 33 percent of women say they feel pressure to alter their appearance based on what they see online, even if they know it’s fake.

This is a great decision from Dove and we hope that it sticks to its guns in this regard as AI art becomes more pervasive. Let’s hope this decision bleeds through to other brands.


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