The IPA today has come out in support of the ASA (see ASA statement below) on the use of airbrushing stating that its members take very seriously the need for all the advertising and marketing communications they produce to be "legal, decent, honest and truthful". The IPA believes that people are already aware that most photographs they see in the media are re-touched in some way and they only react badly when it is overdone.
It also believes that it is becoming common practice for people to enhance their own personal photographs before framing them or posting them on social networking websites. However it acknowledges that there have been a few occasions recently when the digital manipulation has been clumsy - for example Kate Winslet's unfeasibly long legs on the cover of GQ magazine or David Cameron's visage on the recent Conservative Party poster- and that it is quite right for there then to be an outcry.
Said Hamish Pringle, IPA Director General. "There's a lot more thinking to be done on this airbrushing issue and it needs to be done quickly before yet more sloppy proposals for unnecessary and unworkable legislation are put on the table. Since virtually all photos reproduced in editorial or advertising are re-touched, the French lobbyist's idea of a 'kite mark' would not signify anything beyond "all photos are re-touched" which most consumers already know."
ASA statement on airbrushing
The use of airbrushing and other post-production techniques in all media is an accepted creative practice. It is our role as the advertising watchdog to remove any ad that goes too far and uses any technique in a way that is misleading or irresponsible.
The ASA receives only a small handful of complaints about airbrushing in ads. Although this suggests it is not an issue of concern to the majority of consumers, we take the complaints seriously and can and will act where necessary to have problem ads withdrawn.
Complaints about airbrushing to the ASA:
8 complaints out of 26,000
16 complaints out of 28,000