//** * * */
Once again an advertiser has found themselves in hot water for making a weird hand using stock images. In this ad for Bookbeats, announcing that you can try it for free for one month, the stock hand from PSDHands.com has been given the diversity treatment. By simply changing the color of the entire hand.
That's not how hands work! The palm is always a lighter color than the rest of the hand, and the difference between the palm and outside of hand is more - not less - apparent in a person with darker skin. So this now looks like a hand created by someone who has literally never seen a black person. Awkward.
Now the message that you can try it for free is being drowned out by Swedes horrified at the photoshop job. Sure, your ad caught some attention and is currently shared all over Twitter, but it's the wrong kind of attention.
This isn't the first time that a brand has managed a brown palm photoshop screwup. In fact, it happens so often we should have an acronym or a word for it by now. BPPS?
BECCA cosmetics had to issue an apology in 2018, and actually went the extra mile to reshoot their hands. Which, honestly, was the least they could do after showing foundation swatches on different shades of people, as we all could see that was all clearly photoshopped - meaning the foundation coverage was a lie too.
“We hear you and want you to know that we remain committed to continually representing our inclusive BECCA Beauties.”
Stylenada, a Korean beauty brand, also sold orange nail polish, with a weirdly darkened hand with a brown palm. “We are sincerely sorry for the upset caused. We have since removed the picture and will no longer be using it to illustrate our products.”
Colorpop is one of many cosmetic companies that had fallen into the darkened palm mess, but they also added insult to injury by naming darker tones for coverup and foundation things like "Yikes" and "Typo". What were they thinking there?
— Affinity Magazine (@TheAffinityMag) September 19, 2016
Moral of the story is, simple. Stop changing people's skin tone with photoshop. It has been used in everything from advertising to political editorializing. It's just quite dumb.
Back to Bookbeats who are responsible for this latest photoshop blunder. In a text message to Expressen, BookBeat's CEO Niclas Sandin responded:
"We have taken note of the reaction and have spoken to our agency about the matter. They had bought a number of pictures of different hands where one seems to have gone wrong, we will not use that hand in future campaigns. "
The design for BookBeats has been made in collaboration with the advertising agency Bold Scandinavia. Helena Tencer, customer manager at the agency, admits that they are the ones who bought the image for use and apologized in the paper Dagens Nyheter.
"I take full responsibility for the image being purchased. We should have spotted this. It is an incorrect representation of a hand. I will look at how we ensure at all levels that this does not happen again."
The way she phrased that it sounds like they purchased an already darkened hand from the stock photography service. This kind of makes it even worse, because that means the stock services are randomly darkening hands to be able to offer a more diverse selection, instead of photographing models from diverse backgrounds. And the art directors/designers buying the stock can't tell the difference. Oy vey.