L’Oreal rapped again over airbrushing

L’Oreal has been rapped for airbrushing again by the advertising watchdog after misleading manipulation of an ad featuring actress Rachel Weisz.

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The two-page magazine ad featured a black and white image of Weisz to promote L’Oreal Paris’ Revitalift Repair 10 anti-ageing product along with 10 claims: “Wrinkles appear reduced; skin looks smoother; skin feels firmer; skin is hydrated; skin feels more toned; skin feels more supple; complexion looks more even; skin is luminous; skin texture feels refined; skin looks plumper; it’s not a facelift, it’s Revitalift”.

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson challenged whether the ad was misleading because the image of Rachel Weisz had been digitally manipulated and therefore misrepresented the results that the product could achieve. Swinson has set up the anti-airbrushing Campaign for Body Confidence with equalities minister and fellow Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone

The ASA ruled that the ad “misleadingly exaggerated” the performance of the product in relation to some of the claims made in the ad. Others, such as the claim that skin appeared plumper and hydrated were deemed acceptable and not misleading.

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Its ruling stated: “Although we considered that the image in the ad did not misrepresent the luminosity or wrinkling of Rachel Weisz’s face, we considered that the image had been altered in a way that substantially changed her complexion to make it appear smoother and more even.”

The watchdog also advised L’Oreal to ensure it did not use post-production techniques in a way that misrepresented what was achievable using the advertised product.

Swinson chairs an inquiry into the advertising industry and body confidence where advertisers such as Boots, P&G and L’Oreal defended the beauty industry against claims that it is responsible for low self-esteem by building an unrealistic image of women.

L’Oreal has previously had ads featuring Julia Roberts, Christy Turlington and Penelope Cruz banned for excessive airbrushing.

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