Psychiatrists Call For Honesty In Advertising. Are They Crazy?

In Britain, the Royal Society of Psychiatrists is calling for a “kitemark,” or standards mark to be added to every digitally enhanced or airbrushed image. The BBC has more:

According to some in the advertising world, that would mean putting a kite mark on every poster. Better perhaps for a kite mark to be applied to those ads that have not been digitally enhanced or airbrushed. After all, isn’t advertising all about selling dreams? Is it not part of the human condition to aspire? It’s no coincidence that several notable movie directors have come from working in advertising. Both jobs involve fictions and expertise in story-telling.

The objection is over the use of airbrushing techniques showing fashion models and actors as skinner/better looking/flawless. But every image used in advertising is manipulated in some way–bluer skies, thicker juicier hamburgers, etc.
I’d say this issue is a non-starter, but: We’re moving to a more visual, less verbal way of communicating these days. And since there’s a lot of regulation over what advertisers can and can’t legally say, maybe there’ll be a move to regulate more of what advertisers can and can’t legally show.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.