L’Oreal pulls mascara ads for excessive Photoshopping
posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:42 PM EDT
Makeup giant L'Oreal has opted to pull a series of mascara ads from print, broadcast, and in-store after accusations that the images were overly digitally enhanced. The National Advertising Division (NAD), an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, has put out a press release on the matter, and has called L'Oreal's actions "necessary and proper" in killing off the offending ads.
A complaint was brought before the NAD by rival mascara company Procter & Gamble, which claimed that the same ads being shown in the USA were also popping up in Canada and the UK, but with the disclaimer “Lashes were enhanced in post-production.” When the NAD approached L'Oreal on the matter, the company stated it had already permanently discontinued the offending ads from print and broadcast, and was in the process of replacing in-store advertisements.
It's not exactly clear which ad campaigns are being hit under this decision, but according to BusinessInsider, the Maybelline line was affected. Since all of the offending ads are already gone, it's hard to note which ones were bad enough to bring the complaint, but the image on this page (above) is certainly indicative of the wider trend.
The last few years have seen a major backlash against the heavy use of digital retouching in images associated with beauty products — and for some reason, mascara has been a particularly frequent offender. We've seen actions against ads from Procter & Gamble for its CoverGirl Nature Luxe Mousse Mascara, and mascara ads with celebrities Natalie Portman and Taylor Swift have been pulled for being misleading. The situation's even more contentious in the UK, where the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has gone after a number of mascara makers, such as Coty, Avon, and Rimmel. And other types of beauty products are offenders, too.
If you want an idea of just how much Photoshopping goes in to a beauty product campaign, this discussion with a retoucher from Buzzfeed should give you some idea.