What’s real and what’s manufactured?
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 4:21PM
Matthew Bywater

In today’s advertising world more and more industries are turning to ‘photoshop’ techniques to sell their products. Is this an issue that we should be concerned with or is it something that we should simply accept because it’s happening everywhere we turn?

The use of ‘photoshop’ and other digital altering techniques have been described as misleading, deceptive, and dishonest and yet advertisers still use them abundantly, so much so that 93% of us now believe that the images we see in advertisements were definitely digitally altered.

So why use ‘photoshoped’ images?

Advertisers are selling hope. They are buying into the fact that we are so self critical, after all no one is harder on us than ourselves. Advertisers  are taking a complex issue for consumers (improving lifestyle and looks) and simplifying it and providing a solution (purchase this product). It appeals to the need each and every person has to look good.

In recent times celebrities have been hitting back at advertisers that have digitally altered their images to increase sales. Kim Kardashian and Kate Winslett are two celebrities who have been openly outspoken against the use of airbrushing and other digital altering techniques by advertisers. Kate Winslett was quoted saying "it just was important to me to let people know that digital retouching happens all the time. It's probably happened to just about every other well-known actress on the face of the planet."

Cosmetics brand Dove even launched their own campaign ‘Dove’s Real Beauty’ to expose the techniques used by advertisers and the damaging effects they can have on consumers. Coined ‘Dove films’, videos were produced detailing just how ‘photoshopping’ can be used to alter an image and promote product sales.

To  view the video - click here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

These damaging effects are especially prevalent amongst young women. Digitally altered images are always enhanced to make them ‘better’ and more attractive. By doing this it establishes the idea that in our raw state we are not good enough and need to enhance our own image.  When we simply accept ‘photoshoped’ images as a fact and purchase the products anyway, we  are saying to young girls that in order to conform you need to buy and enhance your own image - we’re saying you're not good enough unless you make yourself look how they say you should.

What is the next step?

There is a push for advertisers to reject the norm of ‘photoshop’ and move towards the use of natural images. It has even been suggested that a voluntary code of conduct should be enforced. For more on the topic view the below clip where Matthew Bywater talks further about the topic on The Morning Show, along with a few examples of ‘photoshopped’ images.

If you cant view the video - click here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=KSdq_AGveS4

Article originally appeared on Matthew Bywater | Marketing Strategist & Media Commentator (http://matthewbywater.com/).
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