Two rulings from the Advertising Standards Agency today upheld complaints about airbrushing by beauty brands Lancome and L'Oreal. The challenge came from Liberal Democrat MP, Jo Swinson, who is co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence.
Swinson argued that magazine advertising for Teint Miracle foundation by Lancôme featuring Christy Turlington was misleading thanks to the amount of digital manipulation applied to the image in post-production.
According to the ASA website she believed "the flawless skin in the [Lancôme] image was the result of digital manipulation, not the product" and that the Maybelline image was "not representative of the results the product could achieve."
Lancôme countered that their advertising image was the result of flattering camerawork by Mario Testino (including techniques such as soft focus and lower resolution) as well as Roberts' "naturally healthy and glowing skin" although they did also provide details of post production work on the picture.
Maybelline argued that "the visual, although illustrative, was consistent with the claims made in the surrounding text". The company admitted that their image of Christy Turlington "had also been digitally re-touched to lighten the skin, clean up make-up, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows."
The Advertising Standards Agency upheld both the complaints, saying that in the case of the Julia Roberts picture:
"[O]n the basis of the evidence we had received we could not conclude that the ad image accurately illustrated what effect the product could achieve, and that the image had not been exaggerated by digital post production techniques."
Both companies must not use the advertising in its current form again.
Jo Swinson welcomed the decision but highlighted the way that airbrushing has become commonplace, saying:
"Excessive airbrushing and digital manipulation techniques have become the norm, but both Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts are naturally beautiful women who don't need retouching to look great. This ban sends a powerful message to advertisers – let's get back to reality."