What should be a happy photo of a mom hanging out in the yard with her two boys in their cool new Pixar-themed pool is horribly, terribly, tragically transformed into something much darker, all thanks to an apparent error at the printing press that managed to slip through unnoticed.
Earlier today, someone posted this photo on Reddit of the image on the packaging for the inflatable pool.
Quite obviously, the woman’s left hand is not meant to be positioned on the young boy’s private parts. Some on Reddit immediately accused the poster of a bad Photoshop job.
And yet there are multiple sites selling this pool with the same botched image, so if it is a Photoshop job, it’s not the Reddit poster trying to trick people.
In a former life (better known as my early-mid 20s), I worked in print production and what seems to have happened here isn’t terribly uncommon, though the results are rarely so terrifying.
As with many photos on product packaging, the image here is actually a composite of multiple photographs. You can tell as much from the above image because the woman’s crudely cut-off legs are floating in the foreground when they should be behind the pool.
This is confirmed by this image from the packaging of another Disney inflatable pool, featuring the exact same woman in the same position, but a different pool, bathing suit, and two young girls instead of the boys:
More than likely, when someone was Photoshopping the mom’s bathing suit, he probably forgot to move her back a couple of layers so that her legs were behind the pool and her hand was comfortably on the grass and not on the young boy’s privates. Errors like this are usually caught in the proof stage, but do occasionally slip through.
It could also be the result of a corrupt file with a bad clipping path that suddenly disappeared when it came time to make the printing plates. That type of error doesn’t always show up on the proof but can be caught by watchful press operators.
As the Reddit poster notes, the pool he photographed was the only one at the store with the printing error, so the mistake was fixed at some point. That being said, every image we’ve found of the non-icky photo has the mom in a slightly different, more upright position, meaning they either manipulated that image even further or just used a completely different photo of the “mom”: