Remember how the New York City Department of Health appealed to the side of you that likes having all limbs intact to warn against the dangers of drinking too much soda and eating lots of fast food? They used a shocking image of a man with part of one leg amputated, to show how diabetes is not fun. Thing is, that man has both his legs intact, and might not even have diabetes for all we know.
Scare tactics are one way to change consumer attitudes, to be sure, but as the New York Times discovered, it seems the ad agency responsible for the posters felt they had to fabricate that scary consequence of poor diet.
The man glumly sitting by the ever-growing graphics of sodas, with his left leg amputated below the knee and the crutches he ostensibly needs to walk propped near him might be glum in real life, but his limbs are whole, as seen in the original photo on NYT.com. It was all thanks to Photoshop, confirmed the NYC Health Department, as his image was pulled from a company that provides stock images.
“Sometimes we use individuals who are suffering from the particular disease; other times we have to use actors,” said John Kelly, a health department spokesman. “We might stop using actors in our ads if the food industry stops using actors in theirs.”
Blame Photoshop, Not Diabetes, for This Amputation [New York Times]