Our work: BDD Foundation

The BDD Foundation are committed to helping the 1 in 50 adults who have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Globally, up to 155 million people may be living with the condition.


Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a severe mental health condition. Sufferers become intensely preoccupied with perceived defects in their appearance. There are profoundly debilitating ramifications for their mental health and wellbeing – their social, family, and professional lives.


We have been working with the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation since 2021 to help their mission in creating a community for people who are living with BDD, and to build greater understanding, empathy and awareness of BDD in wider society. Their audiences include:


  • Young people (14-25) /Adolescents, and their parents – it is at this life stage that BDD commonly emerges.
  • Professionals – people with BDD face huge adversities in professional life.
  • Medical health professionals – BDD is one of the least understood mental health conditions in the profession.


The debilitating condition continues to rise – taking some responsibility for this increase are the maintenance of  unrealistic beauty standards in the fashion, beauty, advertising and entertainment industries.

An Asociat curated panel on Fashion, Media and BDD

The panel was hosted by body confidence advocate Alex Light at BDD International Conference 2023

What we do…

We identified fashion, beauty and entertainment brands and their ad/media agencies in order to challenge the way they portrayed beauty – aiming to create a platform to change minds and their approaches to marketing – digital image enhancement/social media filters are a key focus area; because they maintain unrealistic expectations of what people think they should look like, and create massive insecurities in young people/adolescents.

Our contribution to this goal has included…

Content:  We produced a series of films depicting testimonies of real people living with BDD as part of our outreach to gain greater empathy for sufferers. The impact of the fashion, media and advertising industry on their BDD was also discussed. This testimony from Hannah Lewis complements others from :

Tilly Kaye – fashion designer.

Kitty Wallace – head of operations at the BDD Foundation

Alex Mummery – educational psychologist


Partnerships: our partnership with Cosmopolitan Magazine has delivered empathic case studies of people living with BDD as feature coverage.  

A ‘self-diagnosis BDD quiz’ was developed with Dr Rob Willson, a leading clinical practitioner at the charity. This quiz lives permanently at Cosmopolitan’s website.

They have been meaningful partners to the BDD Foundation International Conference, and helped us develop a panel session on fashion and BDD.

Events: We partnered with digital talent agency YMU and Alex Light, the body confidence advocate, Sunday Times best selling author and influencer with +500,000 Insta followers to deliver a Fashion, Media and BDD panel session at the BDD Foundation International Conference.

In this Asociat curated and produced panel, a group of subject matter experts were convened to discuss: The impact of filtered imagery on mental health, if the fashion industry is a contributory factor in the rise of BDD and how it can help be a part of the solution.

The experts included Cosmopolitan Features Editor and documentary maker Jennifer Savin, the former head of sustainability for both Zalando and ASOS Nicholas Mazzei, Tilly Kaye – a fashion designer with lived experience of BDD and Professor David Veale of the Nightingale Hospital – a leading practitioner in the treatment of BDD.  This film was shot in the main 900 seater auditorium at UCL and features the whole discussion as well as audience Q&A’s.

We partnered with Dentsu to deliver BDD education and awareness to their UK staff base. As Dentsu are an international media conglomerate with multiple fashion and beauty clients, we felt this was an important alignment.

The educational themes included identifying BDD, its societal impact, and how to be inclusive and sensitive to those with BDD in the workplace:

An important topic for large organisations – Dentsu employs approx 3000 people in the UK alone. They are statistically likely to have up to 60 sufferers in their ranks. These sessions help to fund the BDD Foundation’s Overcoming BDD Program – a CBT based treatment program aimed at helping BDD sufferers who have been on NHS waiting lists for over 1 year.

Strategic advice: our assessment of the viability of a partner proposal led to the establishment with this socially conscious NFT collective. Working with their artist VISBII, who has endured her own battles with body self image

A series of NFTs were minted depicting characters with exaggerated physical traits to convey how BDD sufferers perceive themselves.

The public mint and sale of the NFTs provided an ideal platform to engage digital natives on Twitter and Dischord, while raising £54,000 for the BDD Foundation.

Awards Entries:  One of our deliverables in the area of strategic advice is in getting closer to advertising decision makers. Entering ad industry award ceremonies is one way to get our message across to the right executives, to showcase the work of the BDD Foundation, and to point the way to some home truths about advertising practises.

Our client has also been engaged in changing the law around filtered imagery. We entered this work into the Festival of Media’s Cause Campaign Awards as a route to get amongst the big advertisers in fashion and beauty – the Unilevers and P&Gs of this world!


Our client started a petition to the UK and European Parliaments calling for digital imagery transparency, demanding a health warning on filtered/enhanced imagery in social media.

A partnership with fashion brand Monki promoted the petition across their channels – a paid social campaign called Selfie-Love-Initiative included downloadable filters promoting realistic beauty standards.

The aim: to drive uptake of signatories to the petition and engage with government.


  • The petition has achieved +41,000 signatures to date.
  • Dr Luke Evans MP has introduced the Digitally Altered Body Image Bill to UK Parliament. Progress of the bill is ongoing.
  • The BDD Foundation were invited to contribute a parliamentary report on the impact of body image on mental and physical health.
  • The work was shortlisted in three categories of the Festival of Media 2022 Cause Campaign Awards and was Highly Commended by the judges.
  • Multiple requests from big advertisers for further dialogue.

Case study – Our work: BDD Foundation

Edelman image

Business is now the sole institution seen as competent and ethical; government is viewed as unethical and incompetent. Business is under pressure to step into the void left by government.

Edelman Trust Barometer 2023
Consumers care about sustainability and back it up with their wallets. image

Consumers are shifting their spending toward products with ESG-related claims.

Consumers care about sustainability and back it up with their wallets. McKinsey, and NielsenIQ 2023
Tanya Joseph – creator of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign image

Purpose will be central to rebuilding brands in the society that is emerging after the pandemic. The businesses that will not just survive, but thrive, over the coming months and years will be those whose leaders embrace the notion that there is no merit in profit without purpose.

Tanya Joseph – creator of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign Columnist, Marketing Week

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