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Corporate Responsibility: CVS Declares Moratorium on “Alterations of Beauty Imagery”
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Corporate Responsibility: CVS Declares Moratorium on “Alterations of Beauty Imagery” - Executive Leadership Articles

Corporate Responsibility: CVS Declares Moratorium on “Alterations of Beauty Imagery”

Executive Leadership Articles

Corporate Responsibility: CVS Declares Moratorium on “Alterations of Beauty Imagery”

CVS, America’s largest drugstore chain, announced in January that it will change its approach to “beauty imagery” for its stores, websites, social media, and marketing materials. It is introducing its new Beauty Mark, a watermark for photos that have not been altered to change their subjects’ shapes, sizes, proportions, skin colors, eye colors, wrinkles “or any other individual characteristics.”

It’s been well known for a long time that in addition to makeup and lighting, models on packaging and in marketing materials have their looks altered further, using computer software to make them thinner, longer, taller, lighter in color, and otherwise flawless. The result may be aesthetically pleasing to many, but one undesirable consequence has been a dip in the way people feel about their bodies. According to CVS, two thirds of women strongly agree that the media has set an unrealistic standard of beauty, while 80 percent of women feel worse about themselves after seeing a beauty ad, and 90 percent of girls ages 15 to 17 want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance.

“We believe we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to think about the messages we send to our customers and how they impact their health,” the retailer explains on its blog. The Beauty Mark is one step CVS plans to take toward transparency in advertising, explaining that by 2020, products on its shelves must be clear about whether or not their imagery is represented by altered photos. Whether this transparency means altered photos will be marked as well, or the consumer will simply know they’ve been altered by their absence of the Beauty Mark is unclear, but the retailer says it’s working with its partners to get there.

Is CVS zigging while other companies are zagging? Is it sensing a shift in the winds and trying to get a jump on a movement? Or is it taking leadership in shifting those winds, asserting an ideal many believe in but few money-making enterprises seem motivated to move on? There’s no way to be sure, but taken at face value, and considering some of the drugstore chain’s recent moves, there seems to be something admirable going on here. As we’ve discussed recently, CVS also took steps toward dealing with the United States’ growing opioid epidemic, resolving to sell prescriptions for no more than seven days’ worth of the drugs, when a usual prescription is for 13 days, and offering drug disposal services for unused and unwanted drugs.

Additionally, in 2014, it took all tobacco products off its shelves, asserting that selling such products went against its mission to “helping people on their path to better health.” The public’s image of pharmaceuticals seems to have taken a few blows recently, with a few high-profile instances of prices being raised astronomically for no apparent reason beyond the market’s ability to take it, and while beauty products fall well outside that realm, CVS appears willing across its many offerings to take a hard look at its role in people’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Reference Links:
CVS press release: https://cvshealth.com/newsroom/press-releases/cvs-pharmacy-makes-commitment-create-new-standards-post-production
CVS Beauty Mark: https://cvshealth.com/about/our-offerings/cvs-pharmacy/cvs-beauty-mark


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Corporate Responsibility: CVS Declares Moratorium on “Alterations of Beauty Imagery” - Executive Leadership Articles

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