Lancome and Maybelline (both owned by L’Oreal) came under intense scrutiny for ads featuring supermodel Christy Turlington (above) and superstar Julia Roberts (below) that some said went too far with the airbrushing. Member of Parliament Jo Swinson found the images overly manipulated (she has a long-running campaign against “overly perfected and unrealistic images” of women in adverts) and so lodged complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
L’Oreal admitted that the images were “digitally retouched to lighten the skin, clean up makeup, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows,” but that the ads “accurately illustrated the achieveable results.” When tasked with presenting the pre-production images as a defense, L’Oreal provided photos of Turlington and Roberts on the red carpet to show that they are “naturally beautiful.” In defense of Turlington and Roberts, both are indeed very beautiful but they also have pores.
Moreover, (according to Styleite) Roberts has a clause in her contract forbidding the unedited images from release. Swinson rightly points out this “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.”
The ASA ruled that both ads “breached the advertising standards code for exaggeration and being misleading,” They’ve been banned from future publication.
Is this a victory?
Oh, and here’s Roberts’ ad: