Two airbrushed make-up ads banned

// 28 July 2011

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pale stick of concealer on a purple background

Following a complaint by Jo Swinson MP, who has campaigned for advertisers to be transparent about their use of airbrushing, two adverts for foundation by Maybelline and LancĂ´me have been banned by the ASA for breaching industry codes.

The regulator said it did not have enough evidence to prove that the images accurately represented what the foundations could achieve, and the ads – featuring extensive digital retouching to the skin of actress Julia Roberts and model Christy Turlington – were deemed likely to mislead.

According to Swinson, the ASA weren’t contractually allowed to see the pre-production photo of Julia Roberts! I guess there was some kind of health and safety risk involved in being exposed to a woman’s face sans digital enhancement.

A mini victory, I feel, though it’s kind of sad that people are having to campaign for the right to see women plastered in make-up. In the masochistic world of advertising-reliant women’s magazines in particular, we’re still a hell of a long way from accepting that women can be just as beautiful and successful and interesting au naturel.

Image by incurable_hippie, shared under a Creative Commons licence.

Comments From You

Jake // Posted 29 July 2011 at 12:51 am

It is sad. There’s a huge amount of diverse beauty all around us we see every day that’s unexplored by most media.

Emma // Posted 29 July 2011 at 1:06 am

In one of my previous jobs as a picture editor (at the BBC and The Times) it is unsurprising to me that the ASA weren’t allowed to see the untouched photo of the actress. Sadly, due to the extra pressures on females in the spotlight to look as young and blemish-free as possible, many actresses, models and their representatives, guard the original images as if the sight of them may instantly end their career. It is interesting to note, that at the current show about Classic Hollywood Glamour at the National Portrait Gallery that I visited last week, it shows you the untouched and post-worked images of female actresses right from the 1920’s, done by hand rather than photoshop, painting out freckles and wrinkles to make them smooth and deceptively young, in order to deceive the fawning audiences right at the birth of our current celebrity culture. Photo-manipulation for deception has been with us as long as photography itself.

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