Procter and Gamble’s Olay advert featuring Twiggy was recently withdrawn over airbrushing claims, and the ASA has now ruled that Johnson & Johnson must withdraw an advert for its Clean and Clear spot control kit.
The consumer watchdog received a complaint about the television advert which questioned whether the ‘after’ images were representative of the results that could be achieved through use of the product.
The advert featured before and after shots of young women who had experienced a dramatic improvement in the clarity of their skin after using the product, and an accompanying voice-over stated: “…Look at the difference it made for these girls”.
Defending the advert, Johnson & Johnson said that in the before shot, all make-up except for eye make-up was removed, a process which was repeated in the after shot which was taken 8 weeks later.
However, the company admitted that in the after shots, a light powder was applied to the subject’s skin to remove shine from the T-zone.
Johnson & Johnson maintained that this was done “to ensure the shininess did not detract from the results on improved clarity of skin.” The company also sent testimonials from the director and photographer present at the filming of the ad to attest that skin appearance was not affected by studio lighting.
The claim that the advert was misleading was therefore solidly refuted by Johnson & Johnson, who believed that that the before and after images were indeed representative of the results that could be achieved through use of the product.
However, the ASA upheld the claim, concluding that the advert was in breach of advertising standards and was likely to mislead.
The regulator said in a statement that in order to make the before and after comparison fair, both shots should have been taken under the same conditions, e.g. both without make-up, “to ensure that any visible improvement was an accurate representation of what could be achieved with the product.”