Ogilvy blocks influencers who digitally touch up

U.K. marketing agency Ogilvy is cutting ties with influencers who digitally distort or retouch themselves in photos.

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Ogilvy blocks influencers who digitally touch up


Future. U.K. marketing agency Ogilvy is cutting ties with influencers who digitally distort or retouch themselves in photos, hoping that the move will help make social media a little less of a toxic experience. If the new standards take off with campaigns from some of Ogilvy’s clients (San Pellegrino, Coca-Cola, IKEA), expect a wave of refreshing new advertising that may have other agencies clamoring to replicate.

Filter free
If you want to work with Ogilvy, your makeup will need to be au naturel.

  • The marketing agency announced that its UK group would no longer work with influencers who digitally “distort or retouch” their appearance.
  • Influencers can edit a photo’s contrast or brightness, but any retouching of the body or skin will be enforced by the standards set forth by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
  • Ogilvy will check if images have been retouched using its proprietary InfluenceO tech stack.
  • Also, marketing briefs will be adjusted to account for people looking normal.

The ban will take effect in May and should be completely implemented through all of its campaigns by December.

Digital disclosure
Ogilvy’s new standards are meant to alleviate some of the “systemic” health problems that social platforms perpetuate. The company’s head of influence, Rahul Titus, explained the move, pointing out that influencer marketing is “supposed to be the authentic side to marketing, but now it churns out such staged content that is so harmful to anybody looking at social media.” Hard to argue with that.

Simultaneously, the U.K. parliament is reviewing the Digitally Altered Body Image Bill, which would require influencers to disclose to audiences if they’ve been digitally altered in any way… showing that this issue is on everyone’s mind. If that bill were to pass, the embarrassment of those disclosures might make Ogilvy’s new standard extremely prescient.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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