• Image_Hack aims to show women being 'beautiful' in different ways and challenge the stereotype of a 'beautiful woman'. (GettyImages/Image Hack)Source: GettyImages/Image Hack
The #Image_Hack campaign is trying to change the way women are represented in advertising.
Alyssa Braithwaite

12 May 2017 - 3:33 PM  UPDATED 12 May 2017 - 3:33 PM

If you search for "beautiful women" on a stock photo website, chances are the results will be a page full of airbrushed models posing in alluring ways.

Danish advertising agency Mindshare made the discovery while searching for an image to use in one of their campaigns, and were dismayed there were so many unrealistic images of women.

They thought it was unacceptable that 68 per cent of women can't relate to the imagery they see in advertising. 

"We all have a responsibility for portraying women the way we do in advertising - by portraying the stereotypical beauty ideals," says Mindshare strategist Mette Bierbum Bacher.

"If we, as an industry, change the way we portray women, we can be a part of changing women's self-image."

So they set out to make the change they wanted to see.

Mindshare teamed up with Dove on the Image_Hack campaign - and "found a back door to one of the biggest stock sites in the world", Shutterstock and uploaded alternative images of strong, realistic women. 

"We collaborated with some of the biggest photographers in the industry and took pictures of strong, independent and original women in non-stereotypical settings," Mindshare creative director Kenneth Kaadtmann told Adfreak.

"The pictures were uploaded to stock sites and tagged to alter [their] algorithms, giving anyone who searches the site a realistic picture of women in today’s society. Then we encouraged agencies and advertisers to use these images to portray women equally in their ads."

The images were uploaded to Shutterstock in January. On International Women's Day on March 8, a series of outdoor ads were displayed outside major advertising agencies in Denmark, encouraging them to use the new photos of women in their ads.

And it worked. So far, according to the video, 1,729 images have been downloaded, and Danish agencies have used the images in advertising 42 different brands.

"The campaign is still running and hopefully it will continue to do so, until the entire media landscape has been unstereotyped worldwide," Kaadtmann says.

Almost 100 photographers from all over the world have joined the cause, and thousands of non-stereotypical images are being uploaded.

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