Photo Shop

Austin Schmidt


Informed Opinion # 2

Photoshopping in Advertising

            A 14 year old from Maine petitioned “Seventeen” magazine to stop using Photoshop in in their advertisements and photo shoots claiming that it was causing unhealthy body image amongst her friends and  other people her age. (Botelho 2012). This sparked a fierce debate on the use of photo shopping and whether or not regulations needed to be put in place by agencies like the National Advertising Division. This paper will explore the ideal of regulation and whether regulations should be put in place in order to help battle the rise in eating disorders in America’s youth. By exploring “Seventeen’s” response to the petition as well as other journalistic articles, this paper will make the argument that regulation’s are necessary as the use of Photoshop as become extreme and is leading to unhealthy body images due to the unrealistic image of beauty being created by magazines and advertisements and the use of Photoshop.

            The petition started against “Seventeen” magazine caused the magazine to formally announce that they would no longer be digitally altering images in the magazine in order to encourage women to be comfortable with their naturally and healthy bodies, calling it a body image peace treaty. (Botelho 2012). This 14 year old was not alone when demanding change as more and more celebrities are asking that their photos not be digitally altered including Brad Pitt and Kate Winslett (Dillax 2011). With over 84,000 signatures Seventeen teamed up with the National Eating Disorder Association in order to help fight back against public backlash. While people argued that these images should be considered fake and the beauty of these celebrities are fake because of the immense amount of Photo shopping, “Seventeen” began to understand the effects these fake images created. Realizing that these images spawned a culture of unrealistic body image, “Seventeen” agreed that constant exposure to these fake photographs were unhealthy for young girls and can lead to severe eating disorders amongst the nations youth (Botelho 2012).

            “Seventeen” was not alone in the fight against digitally altering photographs; the United Kingdom was one of the leaders in banning advertisements that have had to many alterations (Zhang 2011). While the UK is willing to ban any photo that has been overly altered the United States has not gone that far. So far they have only banned photographs that emphasize and alter cosmetic advertisements. One example is that of an advertisement for Covergirl it was found the eyelashes were altered to suggest the product would do more than what is actually did thus being declared false advertising by the National Advertising Division, Americans watch dog on advertising (Zhang 2011).  So while nothing has been done in order to change companies policies on altering bodies, cosmetics can no longer be altered because they are false advertisements. This is an important step because it opens the discussion to whether or not altering bodies and making women thinner can be held to the same standards. While many people would say it’s the photographers and production agencies right to alter these advertisements, the damage being done on body image and emotional health of adolescents is also well documented.

            According the Betelho (2012) the practice of digitally altering images of celebrities to give the illusion of being thinner and having perfect skin is widely used in the magazine and advertising industry, it is not a realistic expectation for every day people. Kotz (2009) explains that when looking at images in magazines people tend to study them and focus on the perfection of this images. She continues to say that unlike when looking at yourself in the mirror, it is more likely that people will focus on small details looking at these images and point out that their  imperfections of their own that these images don’t have. Skin blemishes are removed and as well as other small details that people will focus on in great detail to only realize that they have these so called imperfections. Because of this 1 in 10 people do things like over exercising and skipping meals to achieve this imagery and these actions can be indications of eating disorders starting to form. (Kotz 2009) This has lead the American Medical Association to take a stand (Dillarx 2012). While the AMA admits that studies have not pinned scientific evidence that this leads to more eating disorders, they do say that this is a complicated psychological and sociological issue that is hard to study (Dillarx 2012). There has been a rise in eating disorders since the use of photoshopping became wide spread which is why some people are suggesting that these images come with a warning label to let people know that these images have been digitally changed and that the people you are seeing do have imperfections.

            In conclusion, I believe that either banning or warning labels need to happen for digitally altered photographs. Because of the immense rise of eating disorders since the rise of the use of practice of photoshopping in the advertisement and magazine industry these regulations are needed. While it can not be proved to be directly caused by this practice, the immense rise of eating disorders and the timing of this rise and development of technology cable of altering photos suggest that the two are related. This has lead to a nation wide problem and a culture of unrealistic beauty that is impossible to obtain. Leading to body image problems and eating disorder problems that can have serious effects on young adolescent overall health. Kate Winslett and Brad Pitt and celebrities in general are considered the most beautiful people on the planet anyways why would they need alerting? When the people in these pictures are speaking out against that dangers of the practice I believe that is the greatest sign of all that the practice needs to end or come with disclaimers. Dillarx (2012) claims that the practice actually leads to the objectification and dehumanization of women especially, something that is already an issue within modern society. Finally Kotz (2009) spoke of how nice it was to see Kate Winslett’s arm jiggle when seeing her in person, that reminded her that she was human after all. Anything that can lead to the dehumanization of people is dangerous, especially when it leads to eating disorders and body image problems amongst our nations youth. This practice needs to be changed and addressed before it’s too late. 


Brand Placement and Audience regulation

Informed Opinion-Brand Placement

Austin Schmidt: CMCL 315

Product Placement: Should We Regulate?


            Product placement has become a very popular form of advertisement for companies in the last several decades. Often times the movie “E.T.s” placement of “Reeses Pieces” is considered to be the first major successful event for product placement (Cholinski 2012). Since then the industry has seen immense growth, raising the question if media outlets should have to list and state when and with whom product placement is occurring. 

            TV shows and cinema films have always been the main source of product placement for companies, but now a rise in placement in music videos, the Internet, and mobile outlets are causing the industry to grow at extremely fast rates. (Loechner, 2013). Loechner continues by saying that the industry has seen an immense level of growth over the past five years, almost 12% compound growth, which brings the expected amount spent in 2012 to 4.75 billon dollars. However others dispute those numbers because the dollars spent on product placement are incredibly hard to track and determine a final number. (Sauer 2013) No one is quite sure how much is spent on product placement each year by major corporations, sometimes you can find them in the contributor section in the credits while sometimes they are completely hidden from public view. While the U.S. is growing quite use to product placement and the market has leveled out somewhat, developing countries like India and China are experiencing the most growth of product and brand placement. (Sauer 2013) Since this is such a large business sector today, the question of regulation has started to become quite common, so should we regulate brand placement?

            While the United States posses laws that allow for producers to present the disclosers rapidly at the end of credits, Europe has put in much more aggressive laws the require the disclosures to be ran at the beginning, end and during commercial breaks during their TV shows. (Goldman 2013) Goldman continues that viewers view these disclosures simply as distractions during the show and find the information mostly useless.  This leads me to believe that these regulations are doing little to educate the viewers, but rather simply annoys them. When watching movies product placement is not usually hard to determine. Movies like “James Bond: Skyfall”, have 28 products listed according to Many of them being cars in which disclosure would simply be a distraction, it would not be necessary for these products to be disclosed. Ashton Martin has long been associated with James Bond and has become part of the appeal to the movie, why would the viewer want disclosure to distract them form the legendary status of the Ashton Martin within the movie?

            Is product placement even effective? According to Cholinski’s 2012 study they are effective. There was positive relationship between product placement and viewers opinion and recognition of the brand. But as a viewer do I feel the need to be told what I’m already recognizing? Absolutely not. Since viewers in the one market who has strong regulations on this are finding these notifications to be nothing more than an annoyance why would I want them to be placed in the media? In fact I already find brand placement to be annoying especially when they are blatant and scenes seem to be dedicated to them. Since some product placement is already incredibly obvious there should be no need to point this out with something that may take away from the quality of the TV show or movie I’m watching. While other products placements are necessary, like the many listing for car manufactures in “James Bond: Skyfall”. Movie and TV makers should have to design and manufacture their own cars for these movies, this would be far to expensive for the producers of this media. Expense is one of the major reasons why brand placement has seen such a rise in the last 3 decades. While many moviemakers fear the use of advertisement and product placement, as it will limit creative freedom, the rising budgets on movies make these placements necessary (Sauer 2013).

            Moviemakers fear the use of product placement; this is a key part of why I believe regulations are not necessary. At some point you have to trust the audience to regulate product placement themselves, Sauer (2103) claims that product placement has it’s own natural limit in which audiences will eventually react to if that limit is reached. Having to many product placements will simply turn audiences off meaning that the issue is self-regulated. This will be the key to regulating product placement, not laws. Trusting audiences to accept some of these placements but not too many is important. Movie makers understand that while brand placement is important for being able to have a larger budget audiences will only accept so much, this also means they understand that these placements can not be obvious and must fall within the proper lines of the movie.

            In conclusion I believe that product and brand placement do not need regulations. As mentioned earlier, European viewers who are experiencing these regulations view them as distractions that provide useless information and are not necessary. At some point we have to trust the intelligence of the audience, that the natural limit discussed by Sauer will regulate these advertisements better than any government regulation could. I’ve been well aware of brand and product placement for a long time as I believe other audience members have been as well. Personally I agree with the viewers of Europe, this information would simply distract you from the movie and TV shows and would only make product and brand placement more obvious and distracting. As a viewer I understand that these are necessary to help pay for the rising costs of media production and would prefer if this would not be pointed out to me. Some of this so called product placements adds to the lure of certain movies, like James bond, who has made the Ashton Martin part of his legend, I would hate to see James Bond driving down the road in his classic car only for a notification to pop up to tell me that they paid for this scene. Audiences will only allow for so much product placement before they are turned off from the media, I believe movie makers along with advertisers understand this and therefore will regulate themselves, making laws and government regulation unnecessary.



















References: Brand Cameo/films 2012.

Cholinski, A. (2012) The effectiveness of product placement: A field quasi-experiment.

International Journal of Marketing Studies 4(5). 15-28

Goldman, E. (2013 July 9th) Think you want to be told about product placements in movies?

Think Again. (

Loechner, J. (2013 January 14th ) Product placement an emerging brand marketing solution.

www.mediapost.ocom (


Sauer, A., (2013 April 24th) Product placement sees global rise: Fans face saturated


From Britney to Barbie



   In an advertisement for Candies fashion line, Brittney Spears is shown wearing a pink one-piece bathing suit, one side shows Britney before airbrushing while the other shows after air brushing. I found this ad by simply Googling “airbrushed advertisements before and after”. Candies is a fashion line that she was involved with in the spring of 2009 during her “comeback”.

            I choose this advertisement after a conversation of the forums this week, I argued that the articles failed to acknowledge Hollywood’s role in body image, professor Combs then counter that airbrushing used by advertisers is far more damaging. (Damn, I hate being wrong) So I began to wonder where these airbrushing techniques came from. While examining this advertisement closely, I began to realize the part of Britney that were airbrushed came from a very popular childhood toy, Barbie. The parts of Barbie that are idealized are the same part of Britney that were changed, incredibly slim waste line and legs, and larger breasts. The airbrushing of Britney slimmed her already slim waste line, enhanced her cleavage and provided impossible smooth legs.

            So how is this detrimental to society today? Well as both articles stated people began to doubt their own image and self confidence and emotional health can be compromised when they see advertisements of people with a “prefect” body. But this isn’t happening to just teenage and college age people but almost all people. It’s easy to understand why, when from an incredibly young age Barbie and Ken dolls are creating unrealistic body images. We are exposed to this idea from a extremely young age and are constantly being exposed to this idea. Of course this is going to affect how people view themselves, how could it not? This also makes it easy to understand where the idea of airbrushing came from, advertisers want their models to look like childhood favorites Barbie and Ken. Not only is this about body image but it also becomes about advertising to children. In fact it became such an issue that the makers of Barbie took extreme steps in changing their extremely popular doll. An interesting blog about this can be found here. (

            So in conclusion not only are we exposed to this idea of a prefect body at a young age, but we are constantly re-exposed to this idea through out the majority of our life. As self confidence and emotional health continue to be larger issues one has to think that airbrushing already beautiful people to make them look more like Barbie is extremely detrimental to society as a whole. It’s important to remember that advertising, Hollywood and childhood toys are idealized in an impossibly obtainable way. These are realistic ideas and I will conclude with a picture of Barbie if she was real person, just like Barbie anyone trying to obtain this look would have to be plastic.


Racism in Advertisement

            The commercial I have choose to look at is a Volkswagen commercial in which a man of Middle eastern descent drives a Volkswagen Polo to commit a terrorist act but the car is too powerful for the Suicide bombers bomb to blow it up. By using the actor chosen as the terrorist Volkswagen played into come stereotypes seen in the media, the stereotype being all people of Middle Eastern descent are terrorists. Since the September 11th attack this has been a common theme in the media that reinforces negative stereotypes based on looks.

            As Williams stated about the Nivea advertisement any one with a shred of intelligence would see the issues with this advertisement, it clearly depicts Middle Eastern men in a negative light. How does an advertisement so blatantly racist make it to the airwaves? This shows a clear misrepresentative of the Middle Eastern culture at Volkswagen, if this demographic had been represented in the advertising department this advertisement would have never reached the public eye. Advertisement like these show a larger problem within the advertising world that Williams points out, most of these jobs are going to white people while minorities remain severely under-represented in the industry. While it’s easy to examine the blatant racism on the surface of this ad, it also represents the larger issues in the advertising world.

            By reinforcing stereotypes like this companies not only eliminate potential customers, could you see a middle eastern person driving this car after this advertisement? But they also demonstrate a desensitized approach to advertising.  Does this advertisement not display a lack of respect and concern for a particular group of people. Volkswagen was willing to alienate an entire demographic just to make a point about how powerful their small car is. The idea behind the commercial that although the car is small, it’s safe enough to stop a bomb is clear enough, but was it worth it to be racist?  Volkswagen should be embarrassed by such an obviously racist and disrespectful ad and ask themselves if more money is really worth reinforcing negative stereotypes like this, then they need to reevaluate themselves as a company.

            This ad was shockingly and blatantly racist, how something like this was able to meet the approval of so many people within a single company is beyond me. You hope companies don’t intentionally reinforce horrible stereotypes like this but this particular advertisement is incredibly obvious and makes me question if they really care. To pick the most obvious and forward stereotype of a group of people and use it for advertisement is wrong, you hope Volkswagen learned a lesson for the negative backlash received from this advertisement. 

“I’m armed like never before”

“I’m armed like never before”

            For this critique I want to look at a commercial that targets young boys ages 8 to 12, its advertising a new toy product line that came out for one of the Dark Knight (Batman) movies. In particular I want to look at how violence is sold to our children as acceptable at a young age. It’s easy to understand that companies are targeting children at young age to become life long customers, but beyond products they sell ideas that children deem as acceptable. At the 10 second mark the child says “I have new weapons that will stagger your imagination”. This is selling the idea that weapons are okay, and that they are something you should be proud about and show off. Children get exposed to thousands of violent acts in the media by the time they are 18 and by doing this violence has become accepted as a consumable product. We see this in video games and movies, the majority of which contain some acts of violence. But since children are targeted at such a young age to accept violence, violence becomes a major marketing tool that is sold through media. We know from Klass (2009) that alcohol consumption is more likely to happen to kids who are exposed to advertising of it at a young age, why wouldn’t violence work the same?

            The actual ad itself really glorifies these products as the child is seen sitting behind the desk in the Batcave. He then runs through all the different items that are available to create the “Ultimate Collection”. At the target age 8 to 12, children are going to want to be this kid because he has the ultimate clubhouse with the batcave, he as all the gadgets in which children will want the entire collection to be like him. No only are they selling one product but they are saying to be the ultimate crime fighter you need ALL the gadgets. It’s not until the end with a fast talking voice do they say they are all sold separately. This commercial sells multiple products to children but at the same tell them you can’t be the “ultimate” until you own them all, of course children are going to feel the need to own them all.

            This ad not only attempts to create life long fans of the batman series that will help D.C. and movie studios grow in audience. But they also are selling violence in order to desensitize kids to violence so they can consume featured films, TV and video games the rest of their life. To me this is the same as McDonalds selling to kids to become life long customers but instead its violence. In order to become the ultimate crime fighter you need a rocket launcher, stun gun and some serious armor. At a very young age children are exposed to weapons and violence making them an acceptable part of our culture, even those these are children’s toys these kids will become life long consumers on violence. Worst of all in this particular case the “Good Guys” are the ones with all the guns, the idea becomes in order to be a good guy you need a arsenal of weapons to defeat the enemy. This is a scarey ideology being exposed to children who have no way of knowing what ideology they are being exposed to and the flaws within that ideology. With out being able to truly understand the statistics behind weapons ownership or being able to explore the dangers of weapons violence these children are vulnerable yet companies don’t seem to care. 

AD Critique 3- A common enemy to the blue-collar worker.


Sherrod Brown is one of the current Senators for the State of Ohio, he most recently ran in 2012 to gain the seat. I want to examine one of his TV commercials in order to look at politics in advertising.  Politicians often sell not only a single person for office but also the party or an idea. (Wharton, 2013) In this particular ad the designers were clearly not only selling Sherrod Brown but also his ideas, and a single common enemy of both political parties in the United States. We’ve seen this type of propaganda many times through out history as countries have sold war, although this isn’t typical ground war but an economical war on China that Sherrod Brown claims to be fighting.

First and foremost he displays himself in factory and other blue-collar job settings through the majority of the ad to show that he is not only for the American worker but walks amongst them. This is a common practice done today in American politics, as it’s very common to see ads where politicians are in these kinds of settings. Sherrod Brown is trying to make himself relatable to the average Ohioan by placing himself in settings in which the typical American worker works. He’s shown wearing a hard hat in order to show that he is comfortable around blue-collar jobs and he himself is hard working American citizen. This is a typical political ploy today and most people are able to see through this kind of strategy by politicians. However Sherrod Brown tried a strategy I had never seen before. While placing himself in these settings he discussed his policies on China and claimed that China was not playing fair. By doing this he points out a common enemy similar to the way the United States and Britain used propaganda to attack the Germans during the World Wars. (Wharton, 2013) Sherrod Brown used this ploy in order to get votes from both parties, many political ads run in America use attack ads against the other party, but Brown choose to pick a common enemy in China in order to get votes from both parties. By placing himself in the setting of blue-collar jobs and talking about China he created the idea that China is responsible for the loss of these job instead of the other political party. This creates the idea that he is for America not one party or the other. By attack the opposite party he could have easily isolated a large amount of votes with this ad.

            In a 30 second TV ad Sherrod Brown created two images, the first that he is just like any blue-collar American worker by picturing himself in factory while wearing a hardhat showed that he knows what labor is and the type of jobs America needs. Secondly instead of isolating and attacking the other party he created a common enemy in China in which members of both parties would agree with the advertisement. This is unique in American politics today as many TV spots simply attack the opposing party instead of trying to united all voters behind one common enemy like Sherrod Brown did here.

Ad Critique 2

         The advertisement for my second Ad Critique is a advertisement for Southern Comfort in which the song “Hit or Miss” by Odetta is used. In this ad it shows a larger middle-aged man walking down the beach with the song playing.  The ad starts with a close up of the man wearing sunglasses and looking very content as he walks the beach, it then zooms out to show that he is wearing a speedo that maybe most people his age wouldn’t wear. He then changes course to grab a class of Southern Comfort with a flag that says “whatever’s comfortable” and the ad ends with the lyrics “I gotta be me”

            I had never heard the song or artist before this advertisement ran but the song works perfectly for this commercial. The actor struts perfectly to the rhythm of the song and is clearly comfortable in being himself. It’s hard to say weather the song works with the brand however, I feel that it went better with this particular advertisement than the brand as a whole. As far as I can tell the original song was used for the commercial and it was not altered in anyway, but the advertisement did use mostly the instrumental part of the song and used only a few lyrics to drill home the message to be yourself.

            One of my favorite parts of this commercial is the ending lyrics “I gotta be me” typically advertisement’s use what most people would consider beautiful people and rarely use an “average Joe” like this advertisement did. For this I must consider this advertisement to have positive message. Although I think alcohol is very dangerous for something that has be engrained in our culture and advertising the way it has been and I actually don’t think they should be able to advertise similar to way the cigarettes can’t.  But this has a very positive message to people underneath it, don’t let people judge you and don’t be something your not simply because it’s different. Just be yourself and be comfortable while your doing it. This gentlemen clearly doesn’t care if other people think wearing the speedo is weird or different he’s just happy to be on the beach with a drink in hand and that’s enough for him. So much of what people do is based off  standards set by society and I really respect southern comfort for running a commercial encouraging people to be unique.

What would the world be without women? (Ad Critique 1)

Austin Schmidt

Ad Critique 1

Women’s Fashion

September 6, 2013



            In 2004 the Australian clothing line for women Kookai launched it’s advertising campaign in which they asked the question “What would the world be without women?” In this particular ad we see an “average Joe” dressed in women’s clothing holding a baby, with the question “What would the world be without women?”

            It’s not uncommon to have advertisements ask questions and challenge culture in the way this ad has done. This particular ad is asking several questions about the role of women and the role of men. Are men co-dependent of women? Could the world survive with out them? Asking question like this in an advertisement Kookai has challenged people to consider a simple question with major implications…how would the world survive with out women?

            Before we dive into this particular ad it’s important to note that several other advertisements were ran in which these “average Joes” are wearing more revealing clothes with out the holding a baby. This is important in trying to understand the message behind this particular campaign.

            So what is Kookai asking in these advertisements? The most obvious one, is the simple biological fact that reproduction would be much more challenging. Beyond that however, this ad is suggesting the men are not equipped to be motherly. That with out women infants would grow up in a much different world. This particular ad is defining women by their role of motherhood, the question in this ad becomes, how would infants and children survive with out their mothers?  Perhaps suggesting a women’s most important role is to make sure the next generation grows up.  The other advertisements in this campaign become important because it takes out the role of motherhood in the question “What would the world be without women?” By using average Joe’s dressed in women’s clothing, Kookai is asking the question how would the world look with out women? This time Kookai is defining women by their looks by suggesting that the world loose it’s sexiness with out women. This time they are suggesting that the most important thing women contribute to the world is sexiness and the world would miss looking at women before they would miss anything else about them.

            Although I feel that Kookai meant these advertisements to empower women and show that women play just as an important role as men I believe the stereotypically defined women in their two most common roles in the media, motherhood and being “sexy”. These types of advertisements contribute to culturally biased views on women and reinforce stereotypes of women. Image