An independent advertising watchdog in the UK has banned a Christian Dior mascara ad featuring Natalie Portman after ruling that photographic retouching greatly exaggerates the product’s effect, according to ABC News.
The Advertising Standards Authority, Britain’s regulator for advertising infractions, ordered Dior to remove or alter the ads after it found truth in rival L’Oreal’s claim that the Dior Show New Look Mascara ad “misleadingly exaggerated the likely effects of the product.”
In its verdict, the ASA ruled, “the ad had therefore used post-production retouching on an area (namely the eyelashes) which was directly relevant to the apparent performance of the mascara product being advertised.”
Dior never denied airbrushing Portman’s eyelashes in the photo, saying they "separated/increased the length and curve of a number of her lashes and replaced/filled a number of missing or damaged lashes, for a more stylised, uniform and tidy effect.”
Because the company received no consumer complaints of deception regarding the product, they argued to the ASA that the mascara never betrayed consumer expectations.
"[We] did not consider that the post-production techniques went beyond the likely consumer expectations of what was achievable using the product," a spokesperson said.
In its review, however, the ASA ruled that the placement "would be understood to mean that the mascara could lengthen the lashes, as well as separate them, increase their thickness and volume, and generally enhance lash appearance." This they knew to be impossible, hence their ban on the ad.
American advertisements need not worry about ASA-style ad oversight. Enhancements are commonplace in American advertising, and companies are increasingly hesitant to blow the whistle on each other.
"It's freedom of speech here in the United States, and it's really an excuse for anything from deceptive campaign advertising to mascara advertising," Lisa Granatstein, managing editor of AdWeek, told ABC News.
In the UK however, Dior is far from the first company to be punished by the ASA. Last year, according to The Huffington Post, Lancome and Maybelline ads with Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington, respectively, were pulled for airbrushing and creating exaggerated appearances.
Though L’Oreal played the tattle in the Dior affair, it too was reprimanded last year for exaggerating the effects of a skin cream advertised by Rachel Weisz.