Ogilvy UK, one of the world’s leading advertising agencies, has announced it will no longer be partnering with influencers who retouch their faces or bodies in brand campaigns, as part of an initiative to combat the ills of social media.
Rahul Titus, Ogilvy’s Head of Influence, told The Drum that consumers look to content creators as the “authentic side” of marketing, but with how distorted their images have become, it’s now “harmful” to those who frequent social networking platforms.
In addition, Titus hopes the company’s brand-new commitment to not working with influencers who alter their pictures will aid in the UK government passing the Digitally Altered Body Image Bill, which would require brand spokespersons to disclose edited content to consumers.
As Dr Luke Evans, the Member of Parliament who introduced the bill, put it: “These edited images do not represent reality, and are helping to perpetuate a warped sense of how we appear, with real consequences for people suffering with body confidence issues.”
Over the next two months, the agency plans to roll out its changes in separate phases: first, by consulting brands and influencers on the new policy, then by implementing the ban. It has said all edited sponsored or paid-for content influencer posts will cease by December this year.
If you’re wondering if influencers will still be allowed to edit their pictures at all, the answer is yes. Ogilvy will still permit work with adjusted contrast or brightness. It draws the line at retouches made to a subject’s skin or body.
In order to ensure influencers are compliant, the firm will make use of ‘InfluenceO’, an emerging technology stack that detects when pictures have been retouched or distorted.
Overall, Titus said he hopes the agency will be a leader in the industry and will spur a change in influencer marketing all over the globe.
Just maybe, after years of editing and retouching, we’re moving towards embracing our real selves.