Many a cosmetics player has been caught out, particularly in the anti-ageing arena for their use of Photoshop in adverts, but Nivea is the first in a little while to be caught out.
Text on the packaging of the product stated ‘Reduces all major signs of mature skin ageing’, but the complainant believed that post-production techniques had been used on the image, challenging whether the ad misleadingly exaggerated the effect that could be achieved by the cream.
Having been questioned by the Advertising Standards Authority, Nivea maker Beiersdorf acknowledged that they had retouched the image, explaining it is common practice.
However, the Germany-headquartered outfit, argued they had deliberately left a lot of wrinkles around the eyes of the older woman, respecting the signs of age she exhibited, and said it always took care not to overly retouch the images used in their ads.
Nivea also pointed out that the ad did not make a ‘before/after’ comparison, or promise any quantifiable reduction in wrinkles: “the ad merely showed an attractive, radiant woman in her 50s or 60s and the way in which [Nivea] portrayed her did not reflect an unrealistic ideal of beauty.”
To back its point, the cosmetics firm provided images before and after the retouching pointing out that it had not exaggerated the capability of the product; a claim that the ASA acknowledged.
However, the UK watchdog says that it has not, to date, seen adequate scientific evidence demonstrating that moisturisers are able to achieve the results claimed in the ad, some of which implied physiological effects.
“Furthermore, [ASA] considered that those claims related to visible effects of the product which would be represented in the image,” said a statement.
“[ASA] noted that the image in the ad had undergone post-production enhancement and… considered that the image of the older model… had undergone extensive retouching resulting in substantial changes to the model's appearance.”
In the absence of evidence demonstrating that the effect was in line with that which could be achieved through use of the product, the ASA concluded that the ad misleadingly exaggerated the performance of the product in relation to the claims and was subsequently banned, and Beiersdorf UK warned about post-production practices in future.