Here Are the First CVS Beauty Ads With Images That Haven’t Been Altered


‘Beauty in Real Life’ is a step toward transparency in the industry


CVS Health made headlines in January when it announced a plan to stop altering images used on CVS Pharmacy products and in CVS marketing online and in stores by 2020. Unaltered images now include a special “CVS beauty mark” somewhere on the image to show that “a person’s shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, wrinkles or any other individual characteristics” have not been changed.

It was a massive statement by the company about the unrealistic beauty standards women face every day, thanks in part to beauty marketing. Today, CVS Pharmacy, which is the retail division of CVS Health, rolled out its first marketing campaign as part of the initiative, “Beauty in Real Life.”

The campaign includes print, out of home, TV, digital and social media. In the TV spot, CVS focuses on how women use beauty in their daily lives. There are shots of a diverse group of women putting on and taking off their makeup in various scenarios. One shot shows a woman applying makeup on her morning commute; another looks at a group of friends getting ready for a night out.

CVS worked with creative agency Standard Black on the project.

Print work from CVS shows models that have not been retouched.

While some of the photography still feels more or less standard for beauty marketing—it includes photos of beautiful women with great skin posing in flawlessly applied makeup—the brand’s intended message of creating a new standard for beauty imagery seems sincere.

“There’s been a shift in what consumers want to see when it comes to beauty,” Norman de Greve, svp and chief marketing officer of CVS Health, said in a statement. “They are asking for more transparency and authenticity, and that’s what ‘Beauty in Real Life’ is all about. We wanted to introduce a campaign that uses beauty to make women feel good about themselves by empowering them to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin.”

CVS also partnered with Free the Bid, a nonprofit whose aim it is to get more female directors working on advertising campaigns, to find a director for the project. Kat Keene directed the work, and Mei Tao took the photographs.

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