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Australian Advertising Body Bans Ads Portraying ‘Unrealistic Body Images’
By Izza Sofia, 29 Nov 2018
Image via Shutterstock
The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has updated its Code of Ethics Practice Note that will affect the portrayal of body image in the country’s advertising.
Under the updated code, advertisers will not be allowed to display body types or features that are considered “unrealistic or unattainable.” The updated guidance applies to Section 2.6 of AANA’s Code of Ethics and it prohibits advertising materials that are against health and safety standards.
Advertising materials must not feature quixotic physiques that are unattainable through healthy lifestyle practices. For example, when an ad’s visuals and language peg a particularly unrealistic body type with its product.
According to AANA, the update will act as a timely reminder to help ensure that the country’s advertisements do not become associated with promoting unreasonable body images—especially with the rise in advertisers adopting models and influencers to promote their products.
AANA’s director of policy and regulatory affairs Simone Brandon explained that body image in advertising has become a community concern. By establishing these new standards and removing unrealistic body types in media, the governing body hopes that advertising will not exacerbate this growing social problem that can affect viewers’ mental health.
While the Code does not prohibit alteration or digital enhancement of any image, breaches are made if the graphics are doctored to unrealistic extents.
The Butterfly Foundation—an organization that helps people to recover from eating disorders and negative perceptions of their body—supports the change. It explained that advertisers should educate themselves and embrace diversity when it comes to featuring different body shapes and sizes as they have a moral and social responsibility to the public.
Butterfly Foundation CEO Christine Morgan added that unrealistic body types can trigger body dissatisfaction and lead to dangerous behaviors such as eating disorders.
[via AdNews, opening image via Shutterstock]
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