The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received the complaint from British MP Jo Swinson, that the ads featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington, had been overly airbrushed.
Swinson took issue with the fact that the images in both adverts were misleading as she believed the flawless skin was the result of digital manipulation rather than from product use.
In relation to the Lancome ad featuring Julia Roberts, L’Oreal UK responded stating the image was in the context of an ad for foundation, a product ‘designed to cover the skin flaws and imperfections.’
The cosmetics giant also commented that Julia Roberts is well known as a beautiful woman with healthy skin, and that it did not consider the changes related to characteristics to be directly relevant to the performance of the product.
In regards to the Maybelline ad, the firm once more used the public perception of Christy Turlington as a beautiful woman as reason for no wrongdoing.
Whilst Maybelline admitted post-production work had been carried out, it denied it was out of context and that the images in the advert were representative of the results that could be achieved with the product.
In both cases, the ASA sided with Swinson and chose to ban both adverts, prohibiting them from appearing again in their current form.
In both the Lancome and Maybelline cases, ASA did comment that it would be highly understood that both Roberts and Turlington are beautiful women and public perception of a supermodel is that they have flawless skin and would be professionally styled for the advert.
However, whilst stating that lab tests had proved the product was capable of improving skin’s appearance and that results and claims were consistent with testing, the post production techniques used to ‘retouch’ both images were slightly exaggerated and were misleading as to the results that could be achieved, thus they were banned.