Make-Up Ads Featuring Overly Airbrushed Models Banned

Banned Lancome ad featuring a heavily airbrushed Julia Roberts

Banned Lancome ad featuring a heavily airbrushed Julia Roberts

Banned Maybelline ad featuring a heavily airbrushed Christy Turlington

Banned Maybelline ad featuring a heavily airbrushed Christy Turlington

Last month, we at Talent Management got news that two heavily airbrushed L’Oréal cosmetics ads featuring Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts were banned following complaints by Jo Swinson MP, a Campaign for Body Confidence co-founder.

The foundation ads – one by Lancôme claiming to ‘recreate the Aura of perfect skin’ and the other by Maybelline, whose ‘instant anti-age’ makeup claims to erase fine lines and crows feet – both feature extensive digital airbrushing and retouching to the models’ skin.

Unsurprisingly, there was not enough evidence to prove that the images accurately represented what the foundations could achieve, and so the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that they both breached industry codes, deeming them likely to mislead.

“This ruling demonstrates that the advertising regulator is acknowledging the dishonest and misleading nature of excessive retouching,” said Swinson.

“Pictures of flawless skin and super-slim bodies are all around, but they don’t reflect reality. With one in four people feeling depressed about their body, it’s time to consider how these idealised images are distorting our idea of beauty.

“Shockingly, even the ASA weren’t contractually allowed to see the pre-production photo of Julia Roberts.  It shows just how ridiculous things have become when there is such fear over an unairbrushed photo that even the advertising regulator isn’t permitted to see it.  Excessive airbrushing and digital manipulation techniques have become the norm, but both Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts are naturally beautiful women who don’t need retouching to look great. This ban sends a powerful message to advertisers – let’s get back to reality.”

Talent Management wants to know your thoughts – would you prefer advertisers use pre and post-production techniques, such as styling, eyelash and hair extensions and airbrushing? Or would you rather see real and natural models who better represent the results a product can actually achieve?

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