On social media, everyone looks picture perfect. Thanks to image-altering augmented reality filters, beauty standards have reached unrealistic proportions.
In its latest campaign, Dove is calling attention to these toxic beauty standards, specifically their impact on young girls. On April 5, the brand stood up a billboard at One Square in Toronto made entirely of syringes, representing the number of Canadian teens aged 14 to 17 who have undergone injectable cosmetic treatments in the last year.
The billboard aims to expose the lengths young girls will go to alter their appearances to look like social media filters.
The campaign, developed in partnership with Ogilvy Toronto and David Miami, was created based on 2023 Vividata research that shows that last year, 50,000 Canadian teens aged 14 to 17 had injectable procedures for cosmetic purposes.
In addition, 74% of Canadian girls in that age group report wanting to change at least one thing about their appearance, while over a third say they are unhappy with their appearance.
“We wanted to deliver something that would continue to elevate the conversation around how harmful toxic beauty ideals can be on young girls’ self-esteem,” said Rishabh Gandhi, head of personal care at Unilever Canada in an email interview.
To create the Injectable Billboard, Dove partnered with production company Parade to do numerous tests with the syringes to see what arrangement had the most visual impact, both from up close and afar, said Francesco Grandi, chief creative officer at Ogilvy in an email.
“The key was to make sure the 50,000 stat was legible,” he said, noting that “you don’t often get to build a 14 by12 ft. installation made from thousands and thousands of syringes.”
The final product was meant to look like pixels from afar.
“You only realized it was made from syringes once you were a few feet away,” he said.
The final creative idea was one of hundreds proposed, explained Gandhi. “The Injectable Billboard kept rising to the top. Other than its immediacy and stopping power, visualizing the problem showed just how big the problem was.”
The campaign is part of Dove Self-Esteem Project’s (DSEP) mission to improve youth self-esteem and body image, with the goal of reaching 250 million kids with self-esteem education by 2030. So far, the DSEP claims to have reached the lives of 94.5 million young people across 150 countries.
This story originally appeared on Campaign US.