October 3, 2017

France passes law that says Photoshopped images must have a disclaimer

The law means that any models appearing in commercial photography whose bodies have been made thinner or thicker using image software must be labelled with “Photographie retouchée” (edited photograph).

Lady Gaga Glamour cover

Lady Gaga called out Glamour for Photoshopping her cover image.

France isn’t the first country to legislate on image editing in advertising (Israel did so in 2012), but it’s good to see more awareness on the issue. Fines of €37,500, or 30% of the cost of creating the ad, can be given to those caught out.

Studies have shown that, out of all Western Europeans, French women have the lowest average BMI, at 23.2, and 11 percent of French women are considered “extremely thin.” The new law is aimed at helping to tackle body image problems among people chasing body shapes they can’t hope to live up to because they were faked using computers.

“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour.”
— Former Health Minister, Marisol Touraine

As a direct result of the move, American stock photography agency Getty Images will no longer accept photos that show retouched models, and the change is now written into the contract of any photographer contributing work to the database. With The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reporting that 47 percent of girls between the ages of 10 and 18 feel pressured to lose weight by what they see in magazines, and 69 percent of the same age group having their perception of the “perfect body” defined by images of fashion models, there’s clearly a lot more that can be done. And according to the National Eating Disorders Association, 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life.

While a step in the right direction, there’s only so much that a label on a photo can do, because the same unrealistic body image is still being held up as the ideal. What would make more of a difference is if there’s a change of attitude among fashion designers. If they stop shaping clothes for size zero, that can only be a good thing.

Retailers can do better, too. A study showed female mannequins (but not male) represent extremely underweight women.

Nitro magazine, model before and after

Before and after, Photoshopped model, via modelmanagement.com.

Professor of Diversity in Fashion at Kingston University London, Caryn Franklin, MBE, said, “It’s about alerting the next generation of creatives to the choices they might make around ethical presentations of women’s bodies and the impacts that can have. That said, the more people in positions of power who express opinions on behalf of all our daughters the better.”

Another French law that took effect in May 2017 requires all European models working in France to present a medical certificate, and the doctor who signs off on the certificate must pay extra attention to body mass index (BMI). Belgium, Spain, and Italy are among several countries that now legislate the BMI of fashion models.

Is she Photoshopped? In France, they now have to tell you, on the BBC.

Via Lee Newham.

June 19, 2017

The damage that online advertising has had on the credibility of our news media

“The fact that we have a populace that no longer knows what to believe from a media industry they once trusted, is not an accident.”

Obama bans pledge of allegiance in schools, fake newsExecutive order hoax.

Online advertising is corrupt at its core — an astute piece from The Ad Contrarian. It picks up on something I’ve previously been duped by — ads masquerading as news.

When an online publisher only makes money from traffic and clicks, good journalism will always be sacrificed for clickbait tactics.

July 22, 2016

Ogilvy on meeting clients and prospects

In 1962, Time magazine called David Ogilvy (1911-1999) “the most sought-after wizard in today's advertising industry.”

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May 22, 2016

Greggs, advertising on another level

A genius manoeuvre from back in 2009.

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April 12, 2016


A testament to Godfrey Reggio's influence on contemporary motion photography, and the appropriation of his aesthetic by others for commercial means.

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February 24, 2015

Virgin, Run a Holiday

Oli + Josie came up with a brilliant idea to link the Virgin brands.

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November 28, 2014

Lassa road fashion

These “winter road fashion” print ads for Lassa caught my eye.

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October 24, 2014

How to persuade

When advertising wasn't about paid celebrity endorsements, special-effects and decoration, but about the power of persuasion.

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October 21, 2014

Remember those great Volkswagen ads?

The Volkswagen advertising campaign of the 1960s and 70s is said to be the greatest and most influential ever created, acclaimed as “the campaign of the century” in the Millennium editions of Time Magazine and Advertising Age.

Remember those great Volkswagen ads

Remember those great Volkswagen ads? is the only comprehensive review of the campaign by DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach).

Doyle Dane BernbachFrom left to right, DDB founders Ned Doyle, Maxwell Dane, Bill Bernbach (photo via Adweek)

First published in 1982, the book has been enlarged (364 pages) and updated for the 2014 edition by authors Alfredo Marcantonio, David Abbott, and John O'Driscoll. The original ads were before my time (like most things) so almost all of the campaign is new to me. It's a brilliant book, full of wit, clever ideas, creative headlines, and great copy that seemingly set the standard for all advertising since.

Remember those great Volkswagen ads

Remember those great Volkswagen ads

Remember those great Volkswagen ads

Remember those great Volkswagen ads

Available from Merrell Publishers or here:

on Amazon.com
on Amazon.co.uk

And here's a short video for an insight into the advertising mind of one of DDB's founders Bill Bernbach (1911-1982).

September 26, 2013

Guinness Extra Cold posters

Good ideas don't need embellishment.

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June 11, 2013

Double-use billboards

IBM smart ideas billboard

"By adding a simple curve, we gave advertising a new function."

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April 16, 2013

Only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful

For the latest experiment in Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, Ogilvy hired Gil Zamora, an FBI-trained forensic artist, to sketch women two ways: the first in their own words, the second in the words of a stranger.

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November 5, 2012

Stop motion. Behind the scenes.

When you invite people into your design process, it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.

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June 20, 2012

Anti-abortion ad campaign and morals in design

Following up on my previous post about what type of projects designers avoid, regardless of payment, for me, this is one of those.

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April 18, 2011

One month of online advertising earnings

A number of people asked about my online ad earnings, so here they are for an average month in the hope that they’ll give guidance for your own ad income.

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