Marketing and Sales

Our PhD students

Photo of Karen Middleton

Karen Middleton

  • Role Title: PhD Student
  • Address: Richmond Building Portland Street Portsmouth PO1 3DE
  • Telephone: 023 9284 4629
  • Email:
  • Department: Marketing and Sales
  • Faculty: Portsmouth Business School


Nationality:                        Director of studies: Sarah Turnbull                         Year of graduation:

The practice of digitally manipulating or ‘airbrushing’ photographs that appear in advertising in order to make them as attractive as possible is well-known. However advertisers are increasingly criticised for removing flaws, changing physical features and otherwise enhancing images of models and celebrities by removing lines, wrinkles and cellulite and slimming down models, sometimes to impossible proportions. Airbrushing of models in advertisements has been condemned by health professionals and the media for creating unrealistic body images, especially among children and teenagers and concerns have been raised by the advertising regulator in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority. Utilising experimental methods, my study aims to partly replicate and extend existing research by investigating brand evaluations, perceived advertiser honesty, purchase intention and impact on the viewers’ own body image arising from disclosure of digital enhancement of images of models in advertising. In doing so, the findings will advise advertisers on the consequences of using computer modified images and the effects of the disclosure of such manipulations with the intention of informing public policy.