Outrage over Photoshop mishaps and misleading advertisements is so common now that we hardly think anything of it, but it’s a more serious offense in some countries than it is here in the United States. In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority regulates ads across all types of media in order to protect consumers from false claims and exaggerations. Their latest victim? Natalie Portman’s campaign for Dior’s Diorshow New Look Mascara.
No customers who purchased the mascara complained about the product, but cosmetic company competitor L’Oreal UK did. L’Oreal itself has been the victim of several ASA bans, including Rachel Weisz’s ad for face cream and Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington’s ads for foundation. The conglomerate reported the ad to the ASA for “misleadingly exaggerating the effects of the product.” The organization said they found no issue with the actual image, but the retouching done to the photo could deliver unrealistic expectations to consumers, who believe the mascara will provide “an unrivaled lash creator effect” and a “spectacular volume-multiplying effect.” Until clarifications are made to the claims “directly relevant to the apparent performance of the mascara,” the ad can no longer be published.
The retouching was done by Parfums Christian Dior after they decided to use the image of Natalie Portman for a mascara ad. It was originally meant to promote lipstick, but they changed their minds once they noticed how great the actress’s eyes looked. Retouchers for the brand separated and increased the length and curve of her lashes, as well as filled in several missing and damaged lashes “for a more stylized, uniform and tidy effect.”
In other words, they changed everything they could about Portman’s lashes in order to make them look great in the ad. Sure, it may be misleading, but what advertisements today aren’t misleading? They’re all created to catch consumers’ attention and entice them to purchase the featured product. Brands could cut down on the use of airbrushing and other exaggerated effects, but shouldn’t it also be the consumer’s responsibility to be aware of these tricks used by brands and their marketers?