CVS Health will ban photo manipulation in its store-brand makeup marketing, store aisle displays and social media posts by April 2020.
The announcement was made by Helena Foulkes, president of CVS Pharmacy and executive vice president, CVS Health, during her presentation at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York yesterday.
"As a woman, mother and president of a retail business whose customers predominantly are women, I realize we have a responsibility to think about the messages we send to the customers we reach each day," Foulkes said. "The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established. As a purpose-led company, we strive to do our best to assure all of the messages we're sending to our customers reflect our purpose of helping people on their path to better health."
Foulkes said about 80 percent of CVS's customers are women.
"We’re all consuming massive amounts of media every day, and we’re not necessarily looking at imagery that's real and true," Foulkes said. "To try to hold ourselves up to be like those women is impossible because even those women don’t look like how they appear in those photographs."
Foulkes also said CVS Health will introduce the "CVS Beauty Mark," a watermark that will be used to highlight imagery that hasn't been materially altered. The CVS Beauty Mark will start to appear on CVS Pharmacy-produced beauty imagery in 2018, with the goal of all images in the beauty sections of CVS stores reflecting transparency by the end of 2020.
For this initiative, materially altered is defined as changing or enhancing a person's shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color, wrinkles, or any other individual characteristics. CVS Pharmacy will be working together with key brand partners and industry experts to develop specific guidelines in an effort to ensure consistency and transparency.
The initiative will also spread to its beauty brand partners.
"We've reached out to many of our beauty brand partners, many of whom are already thinking about this important issue, to work together to ensure that the beauty aisle is a place that represents and celebrates the authenticity and diversity of the communities we serve," Foulkes said. "We've been inspired by their willingness to partner with us to redefine industry standards around this important issue for the well-being of all of our customers."
With some 9,600 stores nationwide, CVS is one of the nation's largest sellers of beauty products, giving the company significant influence over makeup marketing.
CVS Health has previously made significant changes in its retail stores with the health of its customers in mind, such as ending the sale of tobacco products, delivering healthier food options throughout its stores, and committing to remove certain chemicals of concern from all store brand beauty and personal care items by 2019.