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Julia Roberts Is Too Airbrushed For The U.K.

Julia Roberts airbrushing ad photo

Breaking News: Julia Roberts and model Christy Turlington — both women in their 40s — are not the dewy, fresh-faced nymphs these ads for Maybelline and Lancome would have you believe. In fact, these airbrushed within-an-inch-of-their-lives ads have gotten both cosmetics companies in trouble with the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority, which regulates truth in advertising. Though Maybelline’s Christy Turlington ad features tiny print at the bottom which clarifies that the image offers an “illustrated effect” of how its product works, that wasn’t enough for the ASA. Ditto regarding Lancome’s ad, which the ASA claims did not “accurately illustrate what effect the product could achieve.” Further, the ASA couldn’t conclusively determine whether digital retouching had been used to alter the image. By now, consumers are savvy enough to know that the smooth, unlined faces they see in advertisements have probably been digitally altered in some way. Brands are selling not simply a product, but the aspirational fantasy of their product. But when it comes to makeup and cosmetics products that promise particular anti-aging benefits, it seems especially irresponsible to go over-the-top with airbrushing. Even the best designed, most well-tested product can’t compete with a digitally manipulated photo.

L’Oreal, the parent company of Maybelline, claims that its Christy Turlington ad had been digitally re-touched to “lighten the skin, clean up makeup, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows” but was otherwise truthful. Doesn’t sound like a lot of truth in that. As punishment for its lack of honesty, both its ad and Lancome’s have been pulled.

Sadly, there’s no similar advertising watchdog agency in the U.S., so it’s up to us to cast a critical eye when advertisers lie. [Daily Mail]

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