Julia Roberts can’t have been pleased. An advertisement in the UK featuring her face has just been banned by the country’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). Not because her face is in any way offensive, you’ll understand, but because the ASA decided it could have been airbrushed to such an extent that it falsely represented the L’Oreal cosmetic product the advert was recommending.
Another L’Oreal advert, this one featuring model Christy Turlington, also met with the same fate.
“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,” she said.
According to the LA Times, the Julia Roberts advert featured a new Lancome product, Teint Miracle foundation. Turlington’s advert showed a product called The Eraser by Maybelline. Both Lancome and Maybelline are owned by L’Oreal.
The ASA’s chief executive, Guy Parker, explained the advertising authority’s stance on retouching when it comes to adverts for cosmetics: “Advertisers must be able to provide appropriate material to us to demonstrate what retouching they’ve done in the event we question them, and they mustn’t mislead.” He continued: “In this event, L’Oreal didn’t provide us with that evidence so we were left with no choice but to uphold the complaint.”
Interestingly, the cosmetic giant was not able to give the ASA a pre-manipulated photo of Roberts as her contract insists that no un-airbrushed shots can be released.
L’Oreal admitted to retouching the photos, but at the same time claimed the products could produce the results shown – which rather begs the question: “So why did you retouch the photos then?”