From 1 October 2017, advertising message will have to bear the mention “retouched photographs” when relevant. The Decree published on 4 May 2017 details the condition of this new obligation on advertisers.
Who: Ministry for Social Affairs and Health
When: 4 May 2017
As we explained in our previous article, article 19 of Law 2016-41 of 26 January 2016 on the modernisation of the French health system has introduced a new obligation which requires commercial photographs whose figures have been altered by image processing software to be accompanied by the words “retouched photography”.
On 2 November 2016, the French government notified the European Commission of its draft Decree regarding retouched photography in advertising. The Decree was published on 4 May 2017 in the Journal Officiel and its provisions enter into force 1 October 2017. Therefore, advertisers must be ready to comply with it in the near future. Below is a summary of the main provisions that must be understood by advertisers.
- Advertising materials: the words “retouched photographs” must be placed in advertising messages published through billboards or bill posting, or by any means of online communication, in the press, in advertising correspondence aimed at individuals or in print advertisements for the public. This list seems very large but it does not include TV commercials.
- Form of the label: “Retouched photographs” must be written somewhere that it can be clearly and easily read and where it can be distinguished from the advertising message. The reference must respect the policies and good practices defined by the French advertising self-regulatory organization (ARPP).
- Whose responsibility? This obligation will be placed on advertisers, who will have to review all information about the photographs they make available to the public in order to determine whether the label needs to be applied or not.
Failure to comply with this requirement is punishable by a fine of up to € 37,500 (multiplied by 5 for an organisation), which may be increased to 30% of the expenditure on the non-compliant advertising in question.
Why this matters?
The goal of this Decree is to reduce adverse effects that can come from the idealisation of models’ bodies and, in particular, to combat a perceived harmful emphasis on thinness, through the implementation of more socially responsible ads.
As from 1 October 2017, the advertisers must be careful to respect this new regulation and adapt all their process and behaviours to be compliant with this new regulation on time.