When Dove beauty products launched its worldwide advertising campaign
using real models of all shapes, sizes, colour and ages, it knocked the
fashion world on its ear. These were not the cookie-cutter, slim, size
four, under-23-years-old models the fashion world has been foisting on
us since time began.
Ottawa’s Ben Barry, founder of Ben Barry Agency Inc., could rightfully
pat himself on the back and say with great pride, “Mission
Since Ben began his agency 10 years before, he had constantly been
lobbying the top fashion magazines, fashion houses and advertising
agencies in Toronto, New York, Paris and London. He believed with a
passion that models should look just like consumers. The models he
signed for his agency reflected just that.
In his book Fashioning Reality, he describes the meetings and rejections
he had during those 10 years. Occasionally he would convince one fashion
magazine to use one of his “real” models.
In 2004 his big breakthrough came when Dove shocked the fashion and
advertising world by launching a major TV and magazine campaign in
Europe, and later across North America, using several of Ben’s “real”
“Dick, I was thrilled when Dove introduced the campaign for real
beauty and selected some of my models. This was the first time a brand
made a genuine and comprehensive commitment to representing women who
looked like their consumers. Finally a brand was listening to the local
case studies of companies with whom I had worked.”
It had been a long, hard 10-year struggle for the now 24-year-old Ben
Barry. Yes, I said now 24-year-old. You see, Ben Barry began his
modelling agency at age 14 in the basement of his family home in Ottawa.
Between classes he would sign up models and search for modelling jobs
for them. Little wonder that Oprah Winfrey had him as a guest on her
Twenty-four-year-old Ben Barry is a dynamic young Canadian who makes us
realize just how dynamic the youth of Canada is.
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