Two L’Oreal Ads Banned in U.K.

Two advertisements for L’Oreal cosmetics, one featuring Julia Roberts and the other with Christy Turlington, have been banned by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because they have been overly-airbrushed, according to a report from the English paper The Guardian. The first ad featuring Ms. Roberts is a two page spread shot by Mario Testino for L’Oreal’s Lancome make-up products, the second featuring Ms. Turlington is an ad for Maybelline’s new ‘Eraser’ foundation. Both advertisements were brought to the attention of the ASA by Jo Swinson, a member of Parliament who claims that the overly manipulated photographs could have a negative effect on an individual’s body image.

“We should have some honesty in advertising and that’s exactly what the ASA is there to do. I’m delighted they’ve upheld these complaints,” Ms. Swinson told BBC news “There’s a big picture here which is half of young women between 16 and 21 say they would consider cosmetic surgery and we’ve seen eating disorders more than double in the last 15 years. There’s a problem out there with body image and confidence. The way excessive retouching has become pervasive in our society is contributing to that problem.” When asked why these particular ads were targeted she told The Guardian that “this ban sends a powerful message to advertisers: let’s get back to reality.”

L’Oreal admitted that both images had been retouched but disputed the ASA’s claim that the use of photo-manipulation was overly-excessive. Earlier this year the ASA issued a ban against an ad for Yves Saint Laurent’s Belle D’Opium fragrance because they claimed the images in the advertisement, which included model Melanie Thierry pushing her finger into the hollow of her arm like a hypodermic needle and feigning some sort of seizure, were intentionally simulating drug use. Last year saw the agency issue a ban on Diesel’s ‘Be Stupid’ advertising campaign claiming that it would encourage inappropriate behavior and ban a Louis Vuitton ad that it claimed would mislead customers about production techniques.

However earlier this year a Miu Miu ad which was brought to the ASA’s attention for having what many considered a “significantly underweight” model was deemed acceptable. This most recent ban may signal a change of policy for the ASA which received negative feedback from its supporters over allowing the Miu Miu ad to run. One thing is certain though, advertisers will be paying much closer attention to the ASA’s rulings now that the agency has entered into the realm of enforcing bans against photos that some feel effect body image.

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