Fake images banned for 'misleading' consumers.

Listen up Photoshoppers: this is huge news. A landmark case against the digital alteration of images has been won in the UK, with cosmetics giant L’Oreal forced to withdraw two of its ads starring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington.

According to The Guardian

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who has waged a long-running campaign against “overly perfected and unrealistic images” of women in adverts, lodged complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority about the magazine campaigns for L’Oréal-owned brands Lancôme and Maybelline. The ASA ruled that both ads breached the advertising standards code for exaggeration and being misleading and banned them from future publication.

L’Oréal’s two-page ad featuring Roberts, who is the face of Lancôme, promoted a foundation called Teint Miracle, which it claims creates a “natural light” that emanates from beautiful skin. It was shot by renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino. The ad for Maybelline featured Turlington promoting a foundation called The Eraser, which is claimed to be an “anti-ageing” product. In the ad, parts of Turlington’s face are shown covered by the foundation while other parts are not, in order to show the effects of the product.

Jo Swinson is chair of a policy working group calling for cigarette-style health warnings by advertisers for the adult market which “tell the truth” about the use of digital retouching technology and is spearheading a campaign to encourage people to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority and the Committee of Advertising Practice about adverts which portray unrealistic and unhealthy body images,.  Her party’s work is backed by a range of organisations, including the National Centre for Eating Disorders, Girlguiding UK and leading academics.


Swinson says that 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.”

We have contacted L’Oreal in Australia for their response to this news story but at the time of publication they were not available for comment.

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