Avon receives criticism over mascara advert
Advertising Standards Agency regarding its Astonishing Lengths
Mascara catalogue advertising.
The advert showed a close up photograph of a model's face with the text underneath claiming that with use of the product 'lashes appear up to 65 per cent longer'. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received complaints from consumers who believed that the model was wearing false lashes, therefore exaggerating the effects achievable from the product alone. The ASA investigated the claims of false lashes, in addition to challenging whether Avon's claims - that lashes appear up to 65 per cent longer - could be substantiated by the company. When questioned Avon did admit that the model in the photograph was wearing false eyelashes, however the company stated that it felt the practice was a global industry standard technique, adding that a reasonable consumer would be aware that individuals appearing in advertising campaigns such as this wear false eyelashes. However, Avon did state that adverts in future catalogues would contain a disclaimer if the model was wearing false eyelashes, to avoid misleading consumers. Similar complaints were received over L'Oreal's advertising campaign for their Telescopic mascara featuring Penelope Cruz. The ASA ruled in July that in future adverts L'Oreal should include a disclaimer if models were wearing false lashes, hoping that it would set a new industry precedent regarding what is and isn't applicable in adverts of this sort. The identical ruling from the ASA regarding the Avon campaign will hopefully serve to further emphasise to the industry what is and isn't acceptable. Matt Wilson, from the ASA, explained that the Avon campaign is likely to have been running at the same time as L'Oreal's, suggesting that Avon is not disregarding previous ASA rulings. Regarding the claim that lashes appear up to 65 per cent longer, the ASA investigated two studies submitted by the company, involving digital images of subjects' lashes both with the Avon product, and an unnamed control product. Although the majority of trial participants attested to an increase in lash length as a result of using the product, only 4 out of the 42 subjects reported that their lashes appeared to be 65 per cent longer. The ASA ruled that as less than 10 per cent of the participants reported the desired effect, Avon could not substantiate the claims of elongated lash appearance, asking that the company removed such claims from future adverts for the product. In addition, the ASA has advised the company to seek guidance from the agency before running future adverts for the product, although this is not compulsory.