Gleam Futures launches nationwide campaign and creator manifesto pledging firm anti-filter stance

Posted by Emilie McMeekan in News

11 months ago

Talent management agency Gleam Futures has taken a significant stand today against the use of AI beauty filters. In partnership with its creators, the agency – owned by Dentsu Creative – has launched a nationwide campaign called “Bold Influence”, celebrating what it calls “eight billion versions of beautiful”.

The campaign features stars from Gleam’s roster including Gemma Styles, Adele Roberts, Anna Whitehouse, Grace Victory and Poppy Deyes. The creators themselves have signed up to the business’ new manifesto agreeing not to use beauty filters such as Facetune, Perfect365 and in particular TikTok’s AI filter Bold Glamour which has racked up nearly one billion views since its February launch.

Speaking exclusively and emotively to CORQ, Melanie Kentish – Gleam managing partner – said the initiative is both a professional and personal imperative: “As a mum of two young daughters and having suffered with eating disorders my whole life, I’m acutely aware of the impact media can have on people’s lives.”

Kentish suggests that while the tabloid obsession with women’s bodies has evolved, social media and the development of AI filters have created a new, more toxic environment. She says: “Increasing numbers of young people (females in particular) are now using filters to sharpen, shrink, enhance and recolour their faces and bodies. Not only is this affecting their self-esteem, it’s setting a very narrow and unattainable definition of beauty for those around them.”

As a result, she feels responsible, both personally in what she herself posts and for the talent she represents to “hold ourselves to account for the content we post. If we don’t feel confident and able to post authentically as ourselves, how can we expect our children? The path that we build today will be walked by them tomorrow. We must do better.”

The launch of the Gleam manifesto is timed to coincide with the next reading of the Online Safety Bill in the House of Lords. As part of the campaign, the group is demanding the government brings the legislation in line with sweeping measures introduced in Norway and France. In 2021, Norway passed an amendment to the country’s 2009 Marketing Act making it illegal for creators and advertisers to post retouched photos without labelling them as such.

France is currently finalising a law that seeks to regulate the commercial activities of creators, including forcing creators to state if images have been retouched or if a person’s figure or face have been created with the help of artificial intelligence.

As the agency under Kentish looks to build a more sustainable and ethical creator industry – and to inspire a more positive social culture – all newly-signed Gleam Futures talent will be asked to sign up to the manifesto. This is motivating for talent too. Sasha Pallari, who is well known for her stance against image distortion, announced this week she is signing with the agency.

Explaining why she jumped at the chance to be part of the campaign, creator and activist Anna Whitehouse said: “Both the government and creators have a clear responsibility to effectively legislate and be responsible role models, respectively. What we post matters and as creators we have to take a stand.”

The nationwide digital and social media campaign by Dentsu Creative UK will launch today.

By Emilie McMeekan, features director of CORQ.