Thursday, June 17, 2010

Truth in Advertising

Does the model at right look like she needs extensive retouching? Would you consider her ugly? Would you use this photo as is in an ad to sell a product?

Well, according to British department store Debenhams, she's perfect just the way she is. For their new swimwear campaign, the store decided to use photos of models that were unretouched. And to also use photos of the models that show how much retouching generally is done to a photo.

An article in the UK's Daily Mail noted:

A sign in the Debenhams window will read: ‘We’ve not messed with natural beauty; this image is unairbrushed. What do you think?’

It will also show customers an example of just how much the image could have been altered.

It's all part of a growing trend to portray women as they really are. An effort to promote a body image that is natural and not artificially created for a magazine cover or an ad.

According to Mark Woods, the store's director of creative and visual:

Our campaign is all about making women feel good about themselves – not eroding their self belief and esteem by using false comparisons.

Not only does it make sense from a moral point of view, it ticks the economic boxes as well. Millions of pounds a year are spent by organizations retouching perfectly good images.

We are proud to bring the issue of re-touching into the main stream when the likes of Britney Spears and Madonna are using unairbrushed but over-lit images as a shock tactic.

I, for one, think it's about time.