FREAK Shots: There’s No Kanye Pill

We’ve talked about advertising that’s too honest.

According to the Online Legal Dictionary, for an ad to be considered false, it has to:

Make a false statement of fact about a good or service (Airborne falsely claiming its product can cure or prevent colds).

Or “deceive or have the potential to deceive a substantial portion of its targeted audience” (the lottery claiming people can win a certain amount of money when they cannot).

Here are before and after shots of a model for a beer ad in Manila, sent in by reader Doranne Lim. False advertising or just some friendly Photoshopping?


According to this study from the Journal of Advertising, deceptive claims are often masked by humor. In the following ad, humor and a deceptive claim (you can’t be Kanye, sorry) are used to mask the advertiser. (Hint: The advertiser’s name appears in the first starred bullet point.)


Meanwhile, there’s no question about the honesty of this store in Rome:

INSERT DESCRIPTIONPhoto: Barbara Crowley


So can I or can't I be Kanye? I want to unleash my superstar within!


Adding to #s 5, 7 and 8:

One of my niece's sent me this youtube link early July:

If is still works, it shows a time lapse of a model going from premakup to billboard. It is amazing what and how much is changed in every step of the process.

My guess is that it is not just cheaper to photoshop, but necessary. Humans just do not exist in the forms displayed in advertising.

I would vote for going back to real people personally.


More photos of the model and the shoot here -


Question concerning the before and after pictures of the model. Why spend then time and money to turn her into something she’s clearly not. Why would the advertiser not just hire someone with the body they are looking for?

I know they would still “touch up” the pictures, it would be a lot less touch up work.


There is as much magic in lighting and posing models as there is in Photoshop.


Just out of curiosity...what is wrong with the model in the first picture? We're all shaped differently; who says the woman in the second picture is a man's choice as a more attractive woman? I'm sure the "natural" woman in the first picture would suffice for many a man.


Ads showing shirtless "ripped" men touting weight-loss supplements or exercise devices often employ a deceptive technique. Just prior to the shoot the photographer or the photographer's assistant will apply long strips of duct tape to the model's back in an "X" pattern. This will pull his skin tight and make him look especially lean and muscular from the front.


The model is wearing the swimsuit differently in the two photos. The way it attaches around her neck makes it look a little different.

I do doubt it's the same woman, though.


The funniest thing is that the last photo of the picture is not really what it seems. The post references the "honesty" of the store in the photo, but for anyone who has seen that store in Rome (near the Spanish Steps) knows that right below the logo in the window it says "not expensive fashion." So is the author of this article making a deceptive claim as well?? ;)


Re: post #10.

She is wearing it differently in the photos. The after-shot is criss-crossed across her chest...but this is done to lift her breasts. When the straps go straight up over her shoulders in the before-shot, you are seeing her breasts in their natural state. By crossing the straps, you are pulling the bathing suit in tighter on the sides, thus bring the breasts forward (although I guarantee that they have still been PS'd after).

Voila! Cleavage! Guys really have no clue of all the tricks women use (outside of the glamour model world) to create illusions.


Hoosier Paul

To paraphrase Mr. West, "Absolute Vodka doesn't care about dumb people!"


Sorry, but you folks you think the picture of the model is touched up have been seeing too many highly produced pictures of women, and not enough of what real women look like.

As others have pointed out, the lighting, hair style, and the way she's wearing the bathing suit (or whatever that is) is different. Also, on the right she is sucking her tummy in and tipping her pelvis to make her derierre stick out a bit and accentuate her curves.

It's sad that many of us are so accustomed to seeing women appear this way that we see the same beautiful, sexy young woman as unattractive when we see her standing normally in bad lighting. It's even sadder that women as well as men share this same warped sense of what women should look like.


I guess the ad works, because my girlfriend was intrigued enough to visit the site...although I'm not sure she's any more likely to buy vodka because of it.


Didn't that Enzyte company just lose a big lawsuit for making bogus claims about the effectiveness of their product? I remember their ads used humor too. Well, maybe not 'humor' per se, but certainly a loose variation on the kinds of things that make 7-year-olds giggle.

Not that I was paying attention to their ads... or ordering their products regularly. I don't need that stuff. Leave me alone! I HATE YOU!!!



Touching up the model is not false advertising because it's not the model that's for sale.

Eric Grant

Regarding the model in the first ad, I read a book once about a guy who was hired to blog a cross-country Playboy bunny search. He talked about how the wannabe bunnies would go into the little photo studio all nervous, and comeout all flushed and giggling. Eventually he found out it was because the photographer, who was only taking polaroids of the women, knew how to get women to pose _just so_ to use forced perspective to create the appearance of an hour-glass figure. The models were very pleased with the results.

There may not have been that much photoshop used in the ad--and the woman on the right may just be the closest you can get in real life to the image on the left.


...On the TV commercials for the regional casinos, I always see everybody winning! Success rate is 100%!!! I gotta get out there...


I saw the "be Kanye" ad on the subway, and I had no idea that it was an Absolut Vodka ad until I read this post. I thought it was the MTA trying to be funny and fill up ad space.


@DH_Huh: I'm guessing that's a stock photo of Kanye's head and it'ssomebody else's hand, and Kanye has no knowledge of the ad.


Sorry, guys, but it's all lighting, backdrop, makeup, etc. Ever hear of Glamour Shots??

The real question should be why we continue to be manipulated by the media to achieve "perfect" bodies; twenty-somethings are getting botox injections.

Remember the old saying, "Feathers don't make the turkey?"