Doctoring up photos in ads because the women in them might look better with a few less organs or cellulite marks is exactly the kind of image-altering Seth Matlins, former Live Nation CMO, is going after with a bill. (He left that job to start Feel More Better, a site to help empower girls and women to be happy and healthy.)
Matlins has been calling out the ad industry’s photo manipulation and the damage it does. (Yes, there’s data.) He built his work in support of the Truth in Advertising Act, and he’ll need more sponsors to pass it. His mission is to bring all the stakeholders together to come up with regulations to promote truthful standards of beauty.
In this Q&A with Digiday he said,
We aren’t talking about the cover of Vogue, we are talking about the ads in it. Parents do need to teach their children how to love themselves, but while parents are the first and the last line, advertisers do need to be accountable for not just what they sell, but how they sell it. I’m a fan of commerce. This isn’t anti-commerce or advertising; it’s a health issue.
What he’s asking may evoke the “it’s society’s values not us” defense from ad execs, but with real images leaking all over the you-can-run-you-can-hide internet, someone might step up and embrace slightly smaller thigh gaps.
This legislation would direct the FTC to develop a regulatory framework for ads that materially change the faces and bodies of the people in them, in order to reduce the damage this type of advertising does to our children. We’re not talking about regulating that making a blue sky bluer, or photoshopping away a fly-away hair. We’re talking about ads that change the shape, size, proportion, color,and enhance or remove the features of the people in them.