Olay takes on computer algorithms to fight biased beauty standards
#DecodetheBias consists of raising awareness of algorithmic justice through a 60-second spot, targeted print campaign and social media. The Procter & Gamble-owned brand is also teaming with activist Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, to conduct an audit of its own practices and nonprofit Black Girls Code to help send 1,000 girls of color to code camp.
The campaign sees Olay extending its purpose-driven marketing by working toward company commitments to increase diversity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Olay's latest campaign aims to raise awareness of computer algorithms that reinforce exclusionary standards of beauty. The issue arises in part because white males account for the majority of U.S. computer programmers, whose own standards are reflected in their designs, from social media to search engines. The result is an exclusive digital ecosystem that is biased against minority demographics, particularly women of color.
By focusing on diversifying the pool of U.S. coders in order to achieve a more inclusive definition of beauty, Olay's campaign demonstrates the kind of authenticity that consumers want to see in brand activism. The effort sees Olay partnering with Black Girls Code to send at least 1,000 girls of color to the organization's code camp, as well as conducting an audit of its own skin analysis technology -- moves that exemplify the kind of effort Olay is calling for from other brands.
The inclusion of Buolamwini in the brand's audit in addition to a 60-second spot and national print campaign could show further commitment to the cause. Buolamwini was recently the focus of "Coded Bias," a documentary released on Netflix last year that explores her findings of biases in facial recognition technology. The success of the film, which currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, could lend additional credibility and buzz to Olay's campaign.