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Lying eyes - Airbrushing is back in the press for all the wrong reasons after more than 700 people complain about an airbrushed Olay advert.
The advert, which features Twiggy, promotes Olay Definity eye illuminator but the ASA received two direct complaints from people who said the advert was misleading because they believed the image was digitally re-touched. The complaints forwarded by Jo Swinson agreed the advert was misleading and they also believed it was socially irresponsible and “could have a negative impact on peoples perceptions of their own body image.”
Procter and Gamble Ltd, owners of the Olay product said they believed an article in a national newspaper, which compared a shot of Twiggy “off duty” with the one from the campaign, could have been the reason why people began to complain.
They said: “There would always be differences between uncomplimentary paparazzi shots and professional beauty photographs and that celebrities were always at risk of less than flattering shots of them "off duty" being taken and used in the media.
It was also routine practice to use post-production techniques to correct for lighting and other minor photographic deficiencies before publishing the final shots as part of an advertising campaign."
The report went on to say: "P&G said that, in July 2009, when the ad was questioned in the media, they reviewed the post-production used in the ad and concluded there had been some minor retouching around Twiggy's eyes which was inconsistent with their own policies. They said they withdrew that ad and replaced it with one in which there had been no post-production work in the eye area."
In their assessment, the Advertising Standards Authority said: “We acknowledged that advertisers were keen to present their products in their most positive light using techniques such as post-production enhancement and the re-touching of images. However, we considered that the post-production re-touching of this ad, specifically in the eye area, could give consumers a misleading impression of the effect the product could achieve.”
They continued: “We considered that the combination of references to "younger-looking eyes", including the claim "Reduces the look of wrinkles and dark circles for brighter, young-looking eyes", and post-production re-touching of Twiggys image around the eye area was likely to mislead.”
The ASA didn't agree that the ad was socially irresponsible as they believe consumers expect some glamour in beauty images and as a result, Twiggy would have been professionally styled. They also said the advert appeared in magazines whose target audience are mature women who would not think that Twiggy looked how she did in the advert just because she used that particular beauty product.
The news comes after a Ralph Lauren advert was criticised for editing an image of model Filippa Hamilton so much, her waist actually appears smaller than her head.