Restrictions on altered photos in ads, cont’d

by Walter Olson on February 23, 2012

An Arizona lawmaker has proposed (how many regrettable stories begin with that lead-in!) a crackdown on looks-enhancement in advertising. “House Bill 2793, proposed by Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, would require advertisers who alter or enhance a photo to put a disclaimer on that ad alerting customers that ‘Postproduction techniques were made to alter the appearance in this advertisement. When using this product, similar results may not be achieved.’” [Arizona Republic via Coyote, earlier (and compare)]

{ 10 comments }

1 L. C. Burgundy 02.23.12 at 10:19 am

As long as said lawmaker is willing to get that tattooed to her forehead, put it in any campaign advertising, and preface all bills she sponsors with that disclaimer as well, I’m okay with it.

2 Black Death 02.23.12 at 1:11 pm

Here’s Katie’s web page – http://www.azleg.gov/MembersPage.asp?Member_ID=104&Legislature=50&Session_ID=107. I wonder if she Photoshopped her picture?

3 gasman 02.23.12 at 1:18 pm

Given that even basic $100 cameras now have picture modifications built in and operational in the standard shooting mode, why would anyone thing that any photo the see is not in some way modified?

If they tell me that any of the models in my Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition have been airbrushed I will be crushed.

4 Scote 02.23.12 at 4:31 pm

“If they tell me that any of the models in my Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition have been airbrushed I will be crushed.”

Except the models are not for sale–well, not to you anyway–so that isn’t false advertising.

It is entirely reasonable for the state to prohibit false advertising. It doesn’t matter if a model is photoshopped if the product being sold is ice cream or a computer or whatnot, but when the product is a weight loss pill or anti-aging cream or something else the retouching can be false advertising. Not sure why ya’ll seem to be in favor of false advertising.

5 DensityDuck 02.23.12 at 6:42 pm

Scote: I’d think the existing tort system would handle the problem.

6 ras 02.23.12 at 9:42 pm

Good to know that all the more serious problems of society have been solved and that this is now the highest priority.

7 gitarcarver 02.23.12 at 10:53 pm

Scote,

If the bill was designed to protect against false advertising, you might have a point. It is not. It is designed to protect women from having a bad body image.

But even assuming the bill was against “puffery,” would you be for labeling car ads showing a car going the speed of sound to have a disclaimer? Would you want all beer ads where guys have bikini wearing women around them and no beer bellies with a disclaimer? Is it “false advertising” to expect Kate Upton to be at my local drive-in eating a Carl’s Jr burger?

The other thing I would ask you is that as the law affects magazine covers, where is the “false advertising claim” in that? If the cover has a Photoshopped cover of George Clooney on the front advertising “we sit down with George!” and the interview is in the magazine, how is that “false advertising?”

Basically, the law takes the position that women cannot see and understand the difference between a model photographed in perfect lighting conditions and what they see in the mirror. How sad it is that we trust women so little.

In the mean time, we have people running around telling everyone their kids are fat and having BMI’s measured at schools. The same people who don’t trust women to make decisions on how they look think telling a kid they are fat makes no difference in “body image” at all.

8 Ron Miller 02.24.12 at 8:52 am

This is not a law. It is a proposed law. I disagree with this bill on the merits.

I think that argument can be made easily without have to chase the slippery slope to disclaimers about whether Kate Upton will be at Carl Jr. This bill – read it – is far more narrowly tailored than that. Again, I think it is a bad law because, while it might help some false advertising claims, the juice is not worth the squeeze. But let’s talk about the actual proposed law at hand.

9 mahtso 02.24.12 at 2:06 pm

“Good to know that all the more serious problems of society have been solved and that this is now the highest priority.”

Rep. Hobbs wrote a letter to Az Rep explaining that she was able to work on more than one problem at a time.

10 gitarcarver 02.24.12 at 3:43 pm

Ron,

I am glad to hear you are against the bill.

Let me address the rest of your argument as being “the slippery slope.”

First, the person to whom I was responding said that any alterations would be “false advertising.” I disagree with that and tried to give illustrations of why that would not be so.

Even with that, you hopped onto the the idea of the Carl’s Jr ads saying bill had nothing to do with them. That is false. The Carl’s Jr ads featuring models eating their products are both video and in print.

One of the Carl’s Jr print ad was famous (notorious?) for the bad photoshopping job done on the print ad itself. The image was modified far beyond anything allowed within the proposed bill and one would assume would require the disclaimer.

I apologize if you find real world examples of something that this proposed bill would affect as being a “slippery slope.”

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