The ad in question features a model whose face is brightly lit against a white background accompanied by the claim, "Even Better Eyes. You see it instantly.” The product is then applied beneath a model's eye with a voice-over stating, "Brightening up the appearance of the entire eye area” and accompanied by on-screen text stating "89% of 168 women agree".
In this instance the complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading as he believed the image of the model had been digitally manipulated and therefore misrepresented the results that the product could realistically achieve.
Response to complaint
When contacted by the Authority, Clinique provided copies of ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of the model and stated that whilst some post-production techniques had been used, such as removing red veins from the model's eyes and darkening her irises, the extent of these changes “was not related to the performance attributes of the product”.
The cosmetics brand also confirmed that the model's skin texture was not digitally manipulated and that in order to bring the viewer's focus to the eyes, the rest of the face was de-focused. The entire image was also lightened for consistency in placement within the frames of the ad.
Clearcast then re-iterated that while the product contained lightening pigments to give the eye area an instant visible boost when applied, they believed the ad accurately reflected that and accurately represented the way the product worked.
Despite this, the ASA found that the model’s eyes appeared brighter in the 'after' photo, compared to the 'before', due to the post-production techniques.
In this instance, the Authority ruled that whilst taking into account the sparkly light effect in the visual which brightened the under-eye area and the soft focus effect applied to the model's face which made her skin appear illuminated, these effects were directly relevant to the claimed performance of the product and gave a misleading impression about the performance capabilities of the product.
"We noted the ad claimed that the product would brighten up the appearance of the entire eye area, however the ad misleadingly exaggerated the results the product could achieve."