The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued two rulings against L’Oréal for the use of ‘digital manipulation’ in its adverts.
The two magazine adverts, one relating to “Teint Miracle” foundation by Lancôme featuring the actress Julia Roberts and the other relating to “The Eraser” foundation by Maybelline and featuring the model Christy Turlington, were intended to show how well the foundation worked to have an anti-ageing effect by covering wrinkles. They were challenged by Jo Swinson, an MP, for being misleading and not representative of the results that the products could actually achieve. L’Oréal, owner of both Lancôme and Maybelline, produced evidence that both products were capable of improving the skin’s appearance, and also argued that the subjects, Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington, had naturally healthy skin which added to the effect of the adverts.
In both instances, the ASA ruled that the claims made in the adverts as to the effect of the products were supported by the testing evidence that L’Oréal had produced. However, the ASA also ruled that the image used in each advert was not an accurate reflection of the results that could actually be achieved by using the product. As such, both adverts were ruled to be misleading and cannot appear again in their current form.
The adverts breached the CAP Code. The CAP Code is a code of practice governing the content of adverts and marketing communications and is administered by the ASA. Although the Code does not have legal force, it is best practice to comply with it, as failure to do so can result in bad publicity and ultimately an inability to obtain advertising space.