By Melissa Fares
NEW YORK (Reuters) – CVS Pharmacy unveiled an initiative in U.S. stores on Thursday, labeling photos of models in its beauty aisles to make it clear whether the images had been digitally altered.
The U.S. No 2 drugstore chain, part of CVS Health Corp, is the first major American company to adopt such a policy in the face of rising concerns about doctored images setting unrealistic ideals of beauty, especially for young women.
The retailer said on Thursday that 70 percent of all in-store beauty imagery was now flagged as “beauty unaltered” or “digitally altered.” The company announced its “Beauty Mark” initiative a year ago, but only on Thursday did it appear in stores.
CVS has promised that by 2020 all images in its stores nationwide will be marked. The policy has already been applied to all images on CVS.com and in marketing materials, including on social media, the company said.
Neutrogena, CoverGirl, and Revlon are among 13 brands working with CVS on the policy, the company said. Celebrities and others paid to promote products on social media are required to post only unaltered, unfiltered images.
CVS was the first U.S. drugstore chain to take cigarettes off the shelf in 2014, a decision it says reduced smoking.
“We believe by not putting significantly altered images in our stores, it’s aligning to what our customers want and expect to see,” said Kevin Hourican, president of CVS Pharmacy. He said he expected the move to attract more millennial shoppers.
Actress Kerry Washington has been a part of the Beauty Mark initiative since its inception.
“I know firsthand what it looks like to wake up in the morning and look at the cover of a magazine and say, ‘Who is that? Why did some person at a computer change the shape of my face to appease their own idea of what I should look like when that is not who I am?’,” she told Reuters.
Other brands that have committed to marking their images as altered or not include: Olay, Almay, Aveeno, Rimmel, JOAH, L’Oreal, Maybelline, Unilever, Burt’s Bees and Physicians Formula.
CVS is the third-most popular U.S. retailer of skin care and cosmetics products, behind Walmart Inc and Target Corp, according to Coresight Research.
(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Bill Rigby)