A paid-for Instagram post by @pixelup.app, seen on 15 May 2023, featured a black and white picture of a person which had been split into two separate images. A vertical line was in the middle of them to show that the image on the left was the original, blurred version, while the image on the right was of a higher resolution. A caption on the post stated “Enhance your Photos with AI”.
The complainant, who believed the app could not improve the quality of old images to such an extent, challenged whether the ad misleadingly exaggerated the capabilities of the product.
Codeway Dijital Hizmetler Anonim Sirketi t/a Pixelup acknowledged the complaint, but did not provide a substantive response. They said the ad in question was not used to promote their product.
The left-hand image in the ad, which the ASA considered consumers were likely to understand was the original photo, was extremely blurry. That was in stark contrast to the image on the right, which we considered consumers were likely to understand was the image after using the app, was sharp and clear. For example, in the right-hand image, the person’s facial features were clearly visible whereas they were not in the left-hand image. We considered that in the context of the ad, consumers would understand the two images as objective visual claims about the app’s capabilities. We considered that consumers would understand from the imagery, in conjunction with the claim in the caption “Enhance your photos with AI”, that they would be able to achieve similar results when using the app.
We therefore expected to see evidence that the image of the original version of the photo used in the ad was genuine and had not been distorted to exaggerate the efficiency of the app, and that the sharper image had been achieved using only the app and without any additional digital enhancement. We also expected to see evidence that consumers would be able to achieve similar results when enhancing old photos using the app.
Pixelup did not provide any evidence to demonstrate how the app worked or the results that could be achieved using the app. In the absence of adequate evidence to show the results featured in the ad were achievable, we concluded that the ad exaggerated the performance of the app and was therefore misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Codeway Dijital Hizmetler Anonim Sirketi t/a Pixelup to ensure their ads did not misleadingly represent or exaggerate the performance of their product in future.