Lancôme and Maybelline Ads Banned

Posted on July 28, 2011

Well, everyone else on the internet is talking about it, so who are we to deny the world our opinions? Great Britain banned the use of two ads; a Lancome with Julia Roberts and a Maybelline with Christy Turlington. Check it:


Guy Parker, chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority has this to say:

“If advertisers go too far in using airbrushing and other post-production techniques to alter the appearance of models and it’s likely to mislead people, then that’s wrong and we’ll stop the ads,” he said.

“Advertisers must be able to provide appropriate material to us to demonstrate what retouching they’ve done in the event we question them, and they mustn’t mislead,” said Mr Parker.

Goodness, what a revolutionary concept. Big companies aren’t allowed to lie to the public. It’ll never fly in America.

Anyway, we thought two of the rebuttals were hilarious. First, this one:

“L’Oreal admitted post-production techniques had been used in 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”.

However, the beauty firm said it believed the image accurately illustrated the results the product could achieve.”

HAHA! Oh, those French, with their croissants, and their ooh-la-la, and their apparent talent for spewing horseshit. We especially like how they admit that they reduced the dark shadows in the ad that sells a product claiming it reduces dark circles but still maintain that the picture is accurate. Très amusant.

And then this one:

The company, which provided the ASA with pictures of both women “on the red carpet” to show that they were naturally beautiful, admitted that digital post-production techniques had been used on Roberts but maintained that the changes were not “directly relevant” and that the ad was an “aspirational picture”.

See, when we implied that the use of our product will make you look poreless and taut like Julia Roberts, we meant only that it was going to make you want to look poreless and taut like Julia Roberts!

Bitches, please.

Whether or not you think Photoshopping is responsible for eating disorders or plastic surgery abuse, the bottom line is, it shouldn’t be used in order to sell products claiming to provide the very effects that Photoshop is being used to achieve. There’s the whole “unrealistic images of women” side of the argument – which we’re not discounting or playing down in any way, but it’s less of a legal issue and more of an ethical one – and then there’s the far more egregious (from a purely business and legal sense) open dishonesty about what the products do. In other words, it’s one thing to make Julia Roberts look 30 on the cover of Redbook, but it’s quite another to do so when she’s shilling beauty products.

It seems to us that the people who have the most power to change this sort of thing are people like Julia Roberts. Presumably she got paid big bucks to be a spokesperson and due to her huge worldwide appeal, she has the power to say, “I’ll do these ads, but don’t make me look like someone else.” Do it for self-serving reasons, if nothing else. Even if Julia doesn’t give a shit about the self-image of other women or the dishonesty of advertising, she HAS to be mortified that the entire internet is talking about how old she normally looks in comparison to these ridiculous ads.

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