Dove Image Hack for #EqualWomen in Denmark

Mindshare Denmark and Dove have created “Image Hack” a interactive campaign aimed at the advertising industry, challenging the stereotypical imagery associated with “beautiful women”. Mindshare collaborated with advertising photographers to take photographs of strong, independent and original women in non-stereotypical situations. The images were uploaded to Shutterstock and tagged to change the page algorithm, so searches on the site provide a realistic picture of women in today’s society. Advertising agencies and advertisers were then invited to use these images to produce women in a non-stereotypical way. The images were uploaded onto Shutterstock around Jan. 18. The site,, went live in February. And on March 8, International Women’s Day, a series of outdoor ads appeared outside major agencies in Denmark, encouraging them to use these new images with the hashtag #EqualWomen. Advertisers and agencies from all over Denmark scooped the photos up and used them in their own advertising — 42 brands in all, including Ford, Frisko, GFB Pension, Panorm and Any Mac.

Image Hack site

Image Hack poster
Image Hack poster
Image Hack poster

Kenneth Kaadtmann, creative director at Mindshare Denmark, talks about the origins of the Image Hack campaign:

“The inspiration came out of a search on a stock site, where we had to browse through several pages until we found an image that was actually not in some way offensive,” Kaadtmann goes on. “That led to the question, ‘What if we could hack this site?’ which led to ‘What if we could hack this site, legally?’ That was how the idea was born. We narrowed it down to two target groups—advertisers and advertising/media agencies. One group we needed to inspire to brief differently, and one group we need to inspire to recommend differently.”

Michael Hansen, Account Director at Mindshare, also explains the Image Hack concept:

“If we as industry change our production of women, we can help influence women’s self-perception. Everyone in the industry has a responsibility in relation to the beauty standards we set up for women in the world. By hacking the industry from within, we can influence that image. That’s what we want to achieve with this campaign.”

The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report 2016 reported that 7 out of 10 women believe that media and advertisements set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can never achieve. Claus Mølholm, Marketing Manager at Unilever, explains the thinking behind Dove’s support of the Image Hack campaign:

“Dove has been working on this agenda for many years, so we did not doubt that we wanted to support the campaign, which goes hand in hand with our messages. For many years, we have been working to create a more nuanced image of women in advertising. For example, we never use professional models in our advertisements, but ordinary women whose purpose is to present women’s diversity.”

Image Hack poster
Image Hack poster

Image Hack Credits

The Dove Image Hack campaign was developed at Mindshare Denmark by creative director Kenneth Kaadtmann, art director Sune Overby Sørensen, copywriter Anne Ingevold, digital designer Andreas Berglund, head of social strategy Mette Bierbum Bacher, media buyer Henrik Welling, and account director Michael Hansen.

Photography on the Image Hack site is by Atli Thor, Magnus Ekstrom, Irfaan Khan.

Filed under: Dove, Interactive, Print