An increasing number of complaints concern the inappropriate use of violence, either actual or implied, in advertising. This has prompted a research report and a seminar, which has led to a strengthening of the codes. In particular, there are issues when the use of violent imagery in fashion advertising is said to glamourise knife or gun ownership or use.
Environmental claims in advertising have also come to be known as ‘greenwashing’ the public. This suggests that many companies are making claims about their green credentials, such as environmental processes in the production and distribution of clothing, which they may not be able to substantiate. Indeed, much evidence to date suggests that the public are neither well-informed nor sure about what many of these claims mean.
There are ongoing complaints about airbrushing or deliberately using underage and underweight models, which, it is claimed, gives young women (and, increasingly, young men) false ideas about normal bodies.
The fashion industry has tried to take a stand on this and has incorporated certain self-regulations regarding the age and body mass index (BMI) of models. However, there are still many instances of the self-imposed codes being flaunted, often without the designer’s knowledge.
Cosmetics, facial and body enhancements
Technological advancements in post-production, known as the ‘digital enhancement’ of adverts has led to an increasing number of complaints concerning air- brushing of photographs. When a cream to combat the aging process is being adver tised, removing fine lines is now banned. ‘Before’ and ‘after’ pictures must not be enhanced. Highlights added to photographs of hair products which claim glossy properties are not allowed. Airbrushing models to make them thinner is an ongoing debate. This comes under the remit of misleading and irresponsible images.