The Man Who Banned The Photoshopping Of Models At CVS, A Talk With Norman De Greve, CMO At CVS Health
“This is a health issue. As a purpose-led, customer-led company, we saw an opportunity to use our nearly 8,000 stores and presence in communities all around the country to inspire change. “
I had the pleasure of interviewing Norman de Greve. Norman is the Chief Marketing Officer for CVS Health. Among other initiatives, he led the recent commitment by CVS Pharmacy to no longer materially alter the beauty imagery the retailer creates for its stores and other marketing channels — as well as to work with their national beauty brand partners to ensure they are reflecting transparency about alteration of imagery by 2020.
Hi Norman. You led the recent commitment by CVS Pharmacy to no longer Photoshop the beauty imagery you create for its stores and other marketing channels. What inspired you to create this great initiative?
We are a healthcare company with beauty inside — and this is a health issue. As a purpose-led, customer-led company, we saw an opportunity to use our nearly 8,000 stores and presence in communities all around the country to inspire change.
We are one of the largest beauty retailers in the country and we’ve seen that beauty customers are shifting more and more towards indie-brands with a strong social presence. They are connecting with these brands because they are seeing more authenticity and “real” people using the products.
Those insights plus our history of making purpose-led decisions, like stopping the sale of tobacco in 2014, inspired us to use that same lens with the health of all women in mind.
What bigger message is CVS looking send to the beauty industry as a whole?
This commitment addresses a health issue — and we hope it inspires others — inside and outside of the beauty industry — to think about the messages they are sending to women.
We are hopeful that this effort will encourage authenticity and transparency so that beauty is something that always makes women feel good, and never not good enough.
Where you hope to see the beauty industry in the future?
Beauty can be and should be aspirational but we believe that can still be achieved without materially altering how a person, a model or a celebrity looks. At its core, we see this as an opportunity to help women and girls have a more positive self-image by promoting beauty imagery that is more realistic and that embraces diversity and individuality. This effort will help us work towards a broader “standard” of beauty. In five to ten years, I hope that that this will continue to evolve and become the new normal.
Thank you so much for your time and your insights, Norman!