Reality Advertising

You may have seen the new skin cream ads. They're the ones that use images of real women, not supermodels. But does reality sell? CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod has the story.

They are the billboards everyone's talking about. But for Gina Crisanti, it's more than just chit chat – she's in the billboards.

"You know where absolutely every one of these is in Chicago, don't you?" Axelrod asked her.

"Not every one!" Gina said.

Gina, a size six – smaller than average but larger than life – is in the Dove skin cream campaign featuring real women with real curves.

"We're normal girls, we're happy and healthy and that's the standard of beauty. It's not about being flawless and perfect," Gina said.

Gina went from behind a tea shop counter to in front of the camera when a casting agent noticed her taking out the trash at work. Her life changed next to a blue dumpster.

But what hasn't changed is this: it's still a sales-pitch. The question Dove is raising is: do real women want to buy their beauty products from regular women or from size two supermodels?

Frances Grill, founder of the Click Model Agency, doesn't think the supermodels have anything to worry about.

Grill says that when she picks up a magazine, she's "looking for the fantasy and the illusion" and that people are drawn in by glamour.

"Regular people, when they look in a mirror, they don't see this," says Axelrod while looking at pictures of models with Grill.

"But they can fantasize it," Grills says.

Dove is banking on her being wrong.

"I think these ads aren't about fantasy. It's about celebrating reality," Gina said.

Dove is also banking that the man on the street is more like Randy Carnegie.

"Now I can walk and whoa -- there goes somebody that looks like my wife!" said Carnegie.

Looking at Gina on the billboard, Carnegie says, "She looks too skinny to be in there."

Too skinny? Try this: A model agency Gina just contacted told her, sorry -- they don't work with plus sizes!
  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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