Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Advertising Updates – ALAC’s Lisa advert and Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty

Artandmylife has asked in comments if I’ve had any response yet from ALAC or the Advertising Standards’ Authority, in regard to my May 2nd complaint about the Lisa advert and its appalling victim blaming. The answer as at the time of writing this is:

The message in all three of our advertisements is that binge drinking increases the risks of harm to yourself or harm to others. The advertisements however are not about blame. We have conducted a lot of focus group testing (including with young women who drink) to ensure that the take out message from these adverts is about increased risks from binge drinking. At ALAC we are very clear that while binge drinking does increase your risk of harm, this does not mean that if you are a victim of a crime while drunk that you are to blame. This point did test positively with our target audiences, that the advertisement was about highlighting real risks from drinking and not about apportioning blame.
The ALAC blog response also says they have received two complaints about the Lisa ad, in addition to "your phone call". I didn't call them so maybe they mean Joanna? and neither did Joanna, so in fact that means at least three complaints (edited Wed pm as a result of Joanna's comment below). They mention that there have been quite a number of complaints made about the ad to the ASA, and that it will be considered at the ASA's May meeting, presumably with ALAC putting a case similar to what's in their blog comment. The whole tenor of that response is "we don't see any blaming, therefore it is not possible for the ad to be doing any blaming." Assumedly any official reply that I receive from ALAC will be along these lines, but hope burns eternal.

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On the issue of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, which I mentioned a few days ago in relation to their fundraising for EDEN, it turns out that even those real women shots they are using in their advertising campaigns are airbrushed. Shame, shame, shame. Update: Please check out the links from twelve-plus-one about this in comments, it is possible that the New Yorker quote oversells the story and that it was only minor colour correcting not full airbrushing. Time will tell, hopefully.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It seems those photos may not have been retouched to the extent people think:
Here's AdAge's original article about the controversy, and a retraction.

Joanna said...

I didn't call them. I suspect they're doing a cut'n paste from their response to someone else. Because surely we can't be the only two people complaining about it?

Julie said...

@twelve-plus-one, thanks for the links, I have updated the post accordingly. However in the second article from AdAge I note that the New Yorker hadn't responded at the time of going to press, so there may be some more back and forth to play out on this?

@joanna, so that means actually at least three people complained. You, me, the person who phoned (who it appears also sent a written complaint that they have cut and pasted that blog comment from). I suspect most people would have complained directly to the ASA rather than to ALAC.

Lyn said...

Re the retouching - it's such a tricky one because with digital publishing everything gets hugely manipulated after the original photo is taken - colour correcting and tweaking of brightness, contrast and tone would be very normal even for newspaper images. I guess the point at which skin tones get evened is the point of no return? The whole campaign is so complicit - how could it not be when the company has to choose women that conform to the usual "standards" except for one small thing (like their body mass index) in order for an audience used to airbrushed perfection to warm to them instead of turning away.

QoT said...

I sent an email shortly after your first post, then after some time sent another. No response whatsoever and if I have to listen to that woman's whimpers while ALAC reminds me "bad girls get raped" one more time I may smash my television.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. In the end I trashed my complaint because to be super honest the ad cut far to close to the bone for me and I couldn't put it into words. I feel now I should try again and write to ASA.