A dad of two who has made millions in his marketing and advertising career is asking a company with one of the most successful campaigns in recent memory to get real. Or, in this case, just "more real."
Seth Matlins wants Dove's Real Beauty Campaign -- and the advertising industry as a whole -- to get even more real when it comes to using women's images in campaigns. And he's started a Change.org petition to do just that. Matlins is an advocate for Truth in Advertising legislation, as well as the founder of Feel More Better, a site that advocates for girls "individually and culturally."
To be clear, he says this isn't a boycott, or about slamming Dove. Matlins said it's precisely because Dove understands this issue so well that he hoped the company would be the first to say "yes" to signing the Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge outlined in the petition. "Our hope is that if Dove leads others will follow," he told ABC News.
He calls the link between misleading, photo shopped advertising and marketing images and the effect it has on young people the "single biggest health crisis in the U.S."
"That's why I'm asking Dove to make "Real Beauty" more real," the petition reads, "and why I'm hoping they'll take a real stand against the health issues they know are caused by photoshopped ads and images, by signing the Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge."
The petition has two parts. First, Matlins wants the company to disclose when it's used Photoshop in its ads. Second, he wants Dove to agree not to run photoshopped ads where kids can see them, "media like billboards, bus shelters, mall kiosks, and the back covers of magazines. Because our kids don't have the ability to process or understand what they're seeing," the petition reads. It has 3,800 signatures so far.
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty launched in 2004 and is the winner of numerous marketing and advertising awards. AdWeek called last year's "Real Beauty Sketches" campaign the "runaway viral advertising success of 2013."
"And if Dove does lead," the petition reads, "let's support them with our thanks - and our wallets. And if they don't, let's ask them why not...after a decade of 'real beauty' it seems a fair question."
"When the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty launched in 2004, we made a commitment to all women that we would not distort any of our images to create an unrealistic view of beauty," said a company spokesperson in an email to ABC News. "Dove takes great care to realistically portray women by accurately depicting their natural shape, size, skin color and age, thereby representing them as they genuinely are.”
Matlins said his daughter, EllaRose, 8, and his son Otis, 7, are the driving force behind his passion. The road to parenthood, he said, was a long one, and Matlins had plenty of time to think about what's important. He said ultimately, it was giving his kids "the best chance to be happy." Part of his job, he said, is to remove the obstacles that could get in their way.
And though he hasn't yet heard back from Dove, Matlins said he was just contacted by San Francisco-based ModCloth. The company said they'll take the Truth in Advertising Hero's Pledge, and Matlins is thrilled. "I'm honored by their boldness and their braveness to be part of a solution to a problem that's sucking too much health and happiness out of our kids."
"As ModCloth is committed to helping our customers feel like the best version of themselves, we are thrilled to be the first to sign on to the Truth in Advertising Hero's Pledge. What this alliance is doing is amazing and we absolutely support this movement," said co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Susan Gregg Koger.
"ModCloth celebrates the beauty of women in all shapes and sizes and it is our hope that other fashion brands and advertisers follow suit by signing this pledge. The excessive and harmful photoshopping needs to stop. It is time for the industry at large to begin reflecting women as they truly are. It should be the norm, not the exception."