Should Retouched Ads Come with Labels?

"Warning! This perfection is an illusion." What if advertisers were required to disclose the fact that all those images of flawless models are digital creations--a far cry from anything achievable in reality? New legislation is putting that possibility on the table.

The proposed Media and Public Health Act, a joint effort of the National Eating Disorders Association and Off Our Chests, asks for federal legislation requiring that “truth-in-advertising” labels be required on all ads and editorial content in which the human form has been materially altered through computer manipulation or other means (you can sign the petition to support the Media and Public Health Act here).

Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, “We must fight back against the constant portrayal of unrealistic ideals of physical perfection. We plan to add our muscle and advocacy efforts to help build momentum to require disclosure when images are altered. There is no cost to government, the ad agency or the consumer … just the cost to the health of our young people if we don’t force change. We know these falsified images have an impact on eating disorders, illnesses that have the highest death rate of any mental illness, and we can’t ignore it any longer.”

This battle over truth in advertising is now raging in the U.K too. Their Advertising Standards Authority just banned this L'Oreal ad for Revitalift with Rachel Weisz, saying the ad "misleadingly exaggerates" the product's anti-aging effects.

What do you think? Would truth in advertsing labels help? Should we be going after advertisers who make flase claims with poreless, "perfect" models who have been digitally altered?

cmysko's picture


Phoenix Love's picture

I completely agree with the message behind this post! Advertising companies should be held responsible for what they advertise and should not mislead consumers. Of course the reason why they do not put a disclaimer stating that the "models used have been digitally altered", is because they do not have proof of what their product can really do. This disclaimer is especially important during late night infomercials because that's when we are most vulnerable. Please take a few moments to click the link above to sign the petition and then you can refer up to 15 friends a day so they can sign it.
Markus Lattner's picture

I strongly agree that we should have advocacy efforts to help build momentum to require disclosure when images are altered.

cantdoit4's picture

They should have to prove to people that they actually are real and not Photoshopped. They should be more responsible of showing the story behind their products. 

jeremy smith's picture

There are certainly lots of editing programs used today on ads. It's actually making the looks of a photo perfect.


How many times per week do you see ads for "bikini bodies"?

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