Advertising watchdog bans two airbrushed adverts


Left: The Julia Roberts Lancome ad banned for being too airbrushed. Source:

Left: The Julia Roberts Lancome ad banned for being too airbrushed.

Digital airbrushing techniques for cosmetic and fashion adverts and photographs are not new and when an non-airbrushed shoot is published, it makes headline for it’s rarity. Two cosmetic campaigns featuring the airbrushed images of actresses Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington have been banned by the advertising watchdog following a complaint from Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson.

Jo Swinson complained to the ASA as the pictures used in cosmetic giant L’Oreal’s magazine campaigns were misleading and “not representative of the results the products could achieve” because they had been digitally manipulated.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld the claim, agreeing that the images – used to promote products from the company’s Lancome and Maybelline brands – breached the advertising standards code for misleading and exaggeration.

L’Oreal’s two-page advert featuring Roberts, the current face of Lancome, promoted a foundation called Teint Miracle, while Turlington featured in a Maybelline campaign for an “anti-ageing” foundation called The Eraser. Both have now been banned from publication. The MP for East Dunbartonshire, said the two adverts were “particularly bad examples of excessive re-touching” which misled consumers. Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme she said “Even if women do know they are being lied to, it doesn’t make it right. We should have honesty in advertising – that’s a basic principle of our advertising laws.”

L’Oreal answered the complaint admitting post-production techniques had been used and claiming its advert featuring Turlington to “lighten the skin, clean up make-up, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows, accurately illustrated the results the product could achieve.” They also said the flawless skin in the image of Roberts was down to her “naturally healthy and glowing skin”, adding the product had taken 10 years to develop.

The ASA upheld the complaint as they L’Oreal refused to provide the original photographs taken of the actress and the model. What’s your opinion? Is it right that Supermodels and Actresses are deemed not beautiful enough without digital enhancement?

Editor of Cult Hub and also an Actress. Join Genevieve on Twitter or take a look at her website or imdb page.