On February 19, Olay held a panel event to announce its commitment to zero retouching of skin images in all of its U.S. advertising, becoming the first mass skin care brand to take this stance. Moderated by Dianna Mazzone, Senior Beauty Editor, Allure, panelists included Kate DiCarlo, Senior Communications Leader, Olay; Busy Phillips, actress; Andrea Harrison, Senior Director, Beauty at CVS Health, and Madonna Badger, Chief Creative Officer and Founder, Badger and Winters.

The Procter & Gamble-owned brand was inspired by the CVS Beauty Mark announcement in 2018 in which the retailer committed to no longer altering imagery for its stores, marketing materials, websites, apps and social media.

“When we started the initiative at CVS, it was very much a health issue,” said Andrea. “We saw a lot of statistics that were alarming, such as 80 percent of women not feeling good about themselves after they saw retouched images in beauty ads, and 42 percent of girts from first to third grade telling us that they want to be thinner. We felt like it was our role as a health retailer to try and have an impact here… and having a partner as large and iconic as Olay taking on this journey with us is tremendous to help bring this message forward.”

“We also saw alarming statistics,” echoed Kate. “A Mintel survey found 40 percent of women in the U.S. feel that beauty advertisements represent unrealistic expectations, making it hard to understand what’s achievable by using those products. We’re so proud to be one of the first brands to fully embrace what CVS started two years ago and push for transparency and authenticity within the world of beauty.”

The Olay Skin Promise will debut in late February with a print campaign, in which Busy Phillips, Denise Bidot and Lilly Singh are featured completely unretouched. “As part of my contract with Olay, I’m not allowed to have Botox or fillers, and I think that’s really important because not only is the brand not retouching images, but they are accepting my face as it is and I’m really proud of that,” explained Busy. “I love that perk of the contract and when I saw that, I knew they were serious about representing lots of different women, at different ages, with different types of skin.”

Badger & Winters, which also produced the brand’s recent space-themed Superbowl ad, was tapped to produce the new campaign. “I believe that our job is to take meaningful, authentic portatifs of women and get to the soul of who they are,” said Madonna. “When we retouch to perfection, which is utterly unattainable, then we are really sending a horrible message. Then, these women grow up taking 50 to 70 selfies at a time in order to find one that’s ‘good enough’. Our message to all women is you are good enough exactly how you are.”

In 2018, CVS began contractually requiring its network of 500 influencers to commit to the beauty mark standards in all their imagery. Following the same model, Olay has rolled out similar standards to its influencer partners. “It’s now part of our contracts. We are willing to walk away from influencers who are not interested in producing content with these standards, and that’s a big choice for a brand but it’s a choice that we are committed to,” said Kate.

The brand’s Skin Promise logomark will signify that ads have not been retouched. The promise will expand to all advertisements across print, digital, T.V., outdoor ads and with influencer partners by 2021.