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Innovative New Campaign Is Changing The Advertising World From The Inside Out

One team is infiltrating the ad world one stock image at a time

Go ahead and Google image search “beautiful woman.” We’ll wait.

Odds are your search returned something that looks like this:

Surely, these photos all depict exactly what we searched for—beautiful women—but what if we could expand the term to not only include airbrushed models, but to also change people’s very thoughts on what “beauty” even means.

That was the mission behind “Image_Hack,” a recent ad campaign headed up by Mindshare, an advertising agency in Denmark.

“Last summer when we were looking through stock sites to find a picture for a campaign and realized that there simply were too many pictures that didn’t represent the world we live in today. Too many stereotypical images of girls,” Kenneth Kaadtmann, creative director at Mindshare, said.

The team discussed how they could change that perception and came to one simple conclusion: flood the stock sites with nonstereotypical images of women being “beautiful” in different ways.

“We knew we needed a lot of pictures, more than we could handle on our own. So we had to create some sort of movement that could enable a cocreation with photographers from all over the world and have them help us,” Kaadtmann said.

Kaadtmann and his team presented the idea to the local Denmark Dove team, who immediately wanted to join the mission and help Mindshare drive the campaign even further than they could have possibly done themselves.

Image_Hack Case Study from Awesome pomegranate on Vimeo.

To get the ball rolling, the team, working with three different photographers, produced a few series of images—the quality being higher that what is usually available on stock sites—to help inspire others.

Soon, they ended up with a little over 1,000 images. To date, 1,729 images have been downloaded, 42 brands have joined the mission, and the pictures have received 40 million media impressions, Digital Agency Network reported.

The response, Kaadtmann said, has been “overly positive and way beyond our own expectations.” Beyond responses from social media fans who already embraced the idea of “real” women, brands and photographers who want to become a part of the initiative have reached out to the Mindshare team.

Kaadtmann did acknowledge that advertisers appear to be hopping on a bandwagon when it comes to using unairbrushed, nonmodel women in their advertising. But, perhaps that’s Ok, and it’s a fad worth backing. “I personally hope that it’s not just a fad,” Kaadtmann said, “and that both advertisers and agencies will continue to drive this mission. I know we will, for our clients.”

When asked how advertisers can get involved anywhere Kaadtmann simply said, “Easy. They can stop using degrading pictures in their advertising.”

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