This street sign for a restaurant might look tempting to anyone who is hungry. Wine, pasta, garlic bread. Hmm! But some eagle-eyed passersby noticed something a little unexpected lurking in the photograph.
Inspect the food a little closer and you’ll notice that it’s a more honest representation of what we’re used to seeing in advertising photography. And with Photoshop-style object removal now so easily accessible, the internet can’t believe the intruder has made it to the final poster (this one won’t make it to our picks for the best billboard advertising).
‘Excuse me waiter, there’s a fly in my garlic bread! Or is it a stink bug? The internet hasn’t come up with a conclusive identification of the genus, but unbelievably it looks like some kind of insect has made its way to the final version of this ad for a branch of Pastini, and it’s crawling on food.
Photos of the ad were shared on Twitter (opens in a new tab) and to Reddit’s r/CrappyDesign (opens in a new tab) community, garnering over 20K views on the former and sparking a huge debate on the latter. “How did you miss this?” asked one person on Reddit. “Photoshop isn’t that hard; there’s no excuse for this,” someone else commented.
Others pointed out that you don’t even need to know Photoshop these days to remove an object from a photo. In fact, several people who describe themselves as “bad at photo editing” have demonstrated just how easily it can be done using just your phone’s editing tools.
Much debate has ensued. Since it seems so incredible that the marketing team could have missed the error in the image, people wonder if it was left there on purpose to communicate honesty and realism. Or was the bug installed to generate exactly the kind of viral advertising the restaurant is now posting online? Some even wonder if the piece could be a nod to the ancient pictorial tradition of the musca depicta. (opens in a new tab) as an observation that life is fleeting.
Of course, there’s also the possibility that the bug was edited into the ad photo after it was taken, or even that the bug landed on the sign when the photo was taken, though that seems unlikely based on the angle.
Detectives on Reddit have traced the location of the restaurant to a plaza in Tigard, Oregon (apparently the only place with a Pastini and a Lululemon next to each other). Apparently stink bugs are common there in the summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone goes there to check that the fly is definitely in the original ad.
Maybe we need more of this kind of honest advertising (even if it’s not the most appetizing), but if you want to easily prevent bugs from creeping into your own images, check out the current best prices on Adobe photography plans below. In the meantime, for more inspiration, check out our picks for the best print ads.