“Advertisers are, of course, allowed to promote their products in the best possible light. But they have to ensure that they stick to the rules; for example, removing or reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes of a model for an eye cream is unacceptable,” said an ASA statement.
“Plus, while the use of qualifying text is acceptable when used to provide further information about a product, if an ad is misleading it remains so regardless of the insertion of a qualification.”
Review of processes
In its Process Review which is designed to assess the rules and regulations handed out and the way these processes are carried out, the UK self-regulatory body paid particular attention to the cosmetics area due to a number of disputes in the past.
Most recently, L’Oreal had adverts for its Lancome and Maybelline adverts banned, after complaints that the images were retouched and that the ‘flawless skin’ in the picture was the result of digital manipulation rather than product use.
As a result the ASA, Clearcast and the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) are in advanced discussions to establish a common pool of cosmetics’ experts.
Pool of experts in place
Despite no announcement on who these ‘experts’ are, the ASA has said it has identified five people who will form that pool.
Preliminary discussions have already taken place, looking at different selection criteria; guidance for the development and support of claims in cosmetics’ advertising; the approach to assessing evidence for claims; areas of concern, e.g. over the level of evidence required for certain types of claim; and how the pool works operationally.
The pool is expecting to be operational in the fourth quarter of this year, when ASA will also publish details of the experts involved.