Bad news for L’Oreal, the cosmetics company is in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority again.
Their ad featuring actress Rachel Weisz has been banned by the UK watchdogs following a complaint from Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the ad ‘misleadingly exaggerated’ the promised effect of the product.
The black and white image for L’Oreal’s Revitalift Repair anti-wrinkle cream claims to target 10 signs of ageing in one.
[See also: Controversial fashion and beauty ads of 2011]
Yet Miss Swindon and the ASA felt the Weisz's perfectly smooth complexion was not a positive representation of beauty achievable by women after it had been airbrushed.
The industry watchdog said: “Re-touching images is acceptable so long as the resulting effect was not one which misleadingly exaggerated the effect that the product was capable of achieving.
“Although we considered that the image in the ad did not misrepresent the luminosity or wrinkling of Rachel Weisz's face, we considered that the image had been altered in a way that substantially changed her complexion to make it appear smoother and more even.”
Meanwhile L’Oreal admitted the image had been retouched and defended the extent to which it has been manipulated.
They said the ad represented Weisz as favourably as possible and every effort was made to produce the most flattering image.
“Rachel Weisz had been professionally styled and made-up and then lit and shot by a professional photographer in a studio setting.
The company added: “The photo was shot using a lot of light in order to make the picture more flattering and to reduce the appearance of imperfections in the ensuing image by giving the image a soft focus and lower resolution.”
Weisz is not the first actress to have a cosmetics ad banned. Last year L’Oreal were accused of misleading consumers with their ads for Lancôme and Maybelline products featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington.
There is increasing pressure for beauty companies to tone down the use of retouching as a series of ads have been banned in the UK and internationally for being too unrealistic.
Swindon, who is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image said: “The beauty and advertising industries need to stop ripping off consumers with dishonest images.
“The banning of this advert, along with the previous ASA rulings banning heavily retouched ads featuring Twiggy, Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington, should act as a wake-up call.
“Thankfully the advertising regulator has again acknowledged the fraudulent nature of excessive retouching.”