Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Obvious photoshop editing

So the question is: is there a limit to photoshop? Is there a point where it stops being effective and becomes more of a hindrance? 

The reason I ask is the above picture. This ad caught my eye, so it was successful at capturing the audience's attention. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized how photoshopped it actually was.

I'm willing to bet that the boy is completely healthy, that he was never sitting in a play ground, that the slide wasn't in the playground, and that the playground wasn't in front of a neighbourhood. A part of me hates being critical of an ad with such a good meaning. But, doesn't one person ruin it for everyone? Won't one exaggerated ad gain lack of believability for all?

Or does it?

Let's say the audience has seen this ad and, like me, they start to doubt the validity of the image. Does that mean they won't take the copy or the cause seriously?

The copy reads "Would you care more if it happened on your doorstep? Help children of Niger"

So then, I develop a new hypothesis. For this particular ad, what if their intention was obviousness all along? The copy asks the reader to imagine to bring the situation in Niger into their personal reality, to make the image of starving African children look like something more familiar. Then the photoshopping begins to make a little sense. In order to make this apply to all Frenchmen, as this is a French ad, is to place common French architecture in the background. Whether or not there is a park in front of said building it is certainly believable, with the limited amount of space in Europe, that a park could be just about anywhere. The slide, a necessary element of any good park. And the starving French boy, who really doesn't exist in the first place; it is simply a what if. And the viewer sees all this and understands it for what it is, make-believe. There is no question about their reliability or the existence of a cause. Viewers are still affected by the message.

That applies to only this ad, however. What about other ads that apply to much photoshop, or simply apply it incorrectly? I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe the message means more than the end result of the creative work. Obviously, it pays to have both at top notch and your campaign will be that much more successful with both. But, wouldn't you still be touched by an ad such as the one above. Wouldn't you disregard the photoshopping for observance of the copy. For this ad at least, I know I would!


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