Informed Opinion 2
Why bother using any real objects in an ad if 90% of what is shown in the end, wasn’t even the original product? What passes us by in advertisements is only a small portion of what it really is. If an edge isn’t being smoothed out, colors are being brightened. If eyes aren’t being blown up, necks are getting resized. If an ad has to be photoshopped, the result is a gross exaggeration of the truth.
Scenario: You are on a road trip with your friends. You guys get hungry and pass a Burger King billboard. Look’s good right? A giant Whopper, perfectly salted fries, and those beads of condensation pouring down that medium Coke cup with all the ice cubes sticking out of the top – just looks delicious. You guys pull over, go inside, order your food and sit down. You can’t help but feel slightly disappointed since the lettuce on your Whopper is soggy and limp and the fries are overcooked. But hey at least you got to enjoy that sweaty soda experience right? Those big condensation beads sure did indicate a cold drink, and a cold drink is exactly what you got – cold and unfortunately for you, watery.
The reality is by the time you get to that amount of condensation, too much ice has melted! But they leave perfectly un-melted, bulging cubes in the ad because they want you to see how ‘refreshing’ it is. That is why photoshopping should not be allowed period. It’s not being truthful to consumers and it is unfair – especially to those who don’t know any better. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has a site regarding what photo manipulation entails. It states, “Photo manipulation is the act of altering a photo using computer software to improve the look, beauty and readability of the image. Frequently it’s difficult for a viewer to differentiate between a manipulated image and reality.” I would imagine that a company may try to justify photoshopping by saying, “people wouldn’t buy it if it doesn’t look good”. However I don’t think that’s necessarly true. For example if all advertisements stopped being altered, people probably wouldn’t prefer one thing over another if every single ad were all normal. People wouldn’t stop spending just because companies stopped editing ads. People still spend now even though a lot of them know what they are looking at isn’t real. For example, “Many of us like to think that we’re smart enough not to be reduced to shivering masses of insecurity simply because we see a David’s Bridal ad in which the model’s waist is magically smaller than her head. In 2008, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that women who saw images of very thin actresses and models experienced a negative effect on their body image.”
I was browsing the internet one night for something. One of those small ad’s on the sides of the screen popped up. It was for a weight loss ad. The advertisement was so poorly edited that a five year old could have recognized it was altered. There was a before and after picture of a woman’s stomach side by side. The “before” picture was ridiculously stretched out to the point where you could see pixilation. The “after” picture looked like a normal stomach which might have just been the original picture, which (if it was the original) that the girl in photo was probably never overweight to begin with. I felt like emailing them saying, “do you even photoshop, bro?” It looked like they used Microsoft Paint. Which leads to another issue. Women and body image is something that we struggle with on a regular basis. It’s not necessary to shove fake/’enhanced’ photos of celebrities on the red carpet. If ads were not allowed to alter photos, I think there would be a huge increase in female self-esteem, and I think we would see a reduction in eating disorders.
Beauty Redefined posted an article about photoshopped images and the affect it has on women, “What we see in media, and what we may be internalizing as normal or beautiful, is anything but normal or beautiful. It’s fake. It’s a profit-driven idea of normal and beautiful that women will spend their lives trying to achieve and men will spend their lives trying to find. Until we all learn to recognize and reject these harmful messages about what it means to look like a woman, we all lose”. I think they make a great point. To photoshop a normal woman into a ‘beautiful’ woman is cruel and unfair. Same thing goes for men, not every guy has chiseled abs. Society puts more emphasis on women than men. For example in shows like Family Guy, or 8 Simple Rules; It’s okay for a heavyset man to have a thin wife, but only the woman has to be thin. Which is ridiculous because men don’t run after obese women just as women don’t run after obese men – generally.
Regardless if it’s an ad about cars, beer, women’s fashion or baby supplies, it should be legitimate – it should be real. I think as consumers we are not asking too much. If marketers and advertisements are going to flood my brain anyways, I would appreciate it if they could at least give me the courtesy of honesty.