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Schirmer, Nadine A.; Schwaiger, Manfred; Taylor, Charles R.; Costello, John P. (2018): Consumer Response to Disclosures in Digitally Retouched Advertisements. In: Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Vol. 37, No. 1: pp. 131-141
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The issue of digitally retouching models has begun to gain the attention of the public and regulators in multiple parts of the world, with some countries considering legislation or even passing restrictions, including requiring disclosures on retouched ads. This study adds insight into this debate by examining the impact of the addition of a disclosure to digitally retouched ads on women's advertising response. A 2 (disclosure) x 2 (product type) experiment was conducted with a sample of 495 women in Germany. The study also develops a typology of four levels of digital retouching via a factor analysis of survey data, with consumer aversion increasing when postproduction modifications became extreme. Disclosures had a nonsignificant effect on advertising response and credibility of the ad, yet purchase intent was significantly higher for ads that contained disclosures. Product type made no difference for any consumer group. Implications for companies and policy makers are discussed.