Two makeup advertisements featuring actress Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington have been deemed misleading in England, and have subsequently been banned.
The Advertising Standards Agency last Wednesday said that the use of airbrushing and digital alterations on print ads for Maybelline and Lancôme cosmetics was misleading and exaggerated the results of the products.
Liberal Democrat parliamentarian Jo Swinson filed the complaint against L'Oreal, the parent company of the two brands, claiming that the ads breached advertising standards.
"On the basis of the evidence we had received we could not conclude that the ad image accurately illustrated what effect the product could achieve, and that the image had not been exaggerated by digital post production techniques," the ASA stated.
L'Oreal said that the effects of the products, both "anti-aging" foundations, were "accurately illustrated" by the ads. The company said it was "disappointed" by the ruling, and the advertisements have been pulled.
"Even though the ad features an obviously illustrated effect, some lines are still clearly visible beneath the illustration and we do not believe that the ad exaggerates the effect that can be achieved using this product," the company said in a statement.
L'Oreal praised photographer Mario Testino's work on the Julia Roberts ads. In doing so, the company implied airbrushing has the same effect that altering lighting does photo-shoots.
And aren't they right? A professionally photographed picture of a product or person will always look better than real life. Certainty, that is somewhat misleading.
"Pictures of flawless skin and super-slim bodies are all around, but they don't reflect reality," MP Swinson told CNN. "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.
"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."