ASA Adjudication on LOreal (UK) Ltd
LOreal (UK) Ltd
255 Hammersmith Road
25 July 2007
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
A TV and press ad for L'Oreal Telescopic mascara featured the actress Penelope Cruz.
a. The TV ad showed the actress standing on an apartment terrace next to a telescope that pointed towards the night sky. While the camera featured a close-up of her eyelashes, she said "So separated. So long. Imagine, lashes that could reach for the stars." The voiceover said "New telescopic mascara from L'Oreal Paris. Its secret? The high-precision flexible brush. It separates the lashes with precision for intensity lash by lash. The flexible brush lengthens your lashes for telescopic length". The camera featured various close-ups of the actress wearing the product and showed images demonstrating the flexible motion of the brush. On-screen text appeared at different stages of the ad: "High-precision"; "Flexible brush"; "Separation lash by lash" and "Up to 60% longer". The actress said "For out of this world lashes. Astronomical ... Take your lashes to telescopic lengths ..."
b. The press ad read "In a flash of a stroke ... up to 60% longer lashes and definition lash by lash. NEW TELESCOPIC MASCARA. Innovation: High-Precision Flexible Brush. Telescopic length: The flat surfaces stretch the formula towards infinity. Definition lash by lash: The brush edges separate the lashes with precision. Because you're worth it."
The complainant, who believed the actress was wearing false eyelashes, challenged whether the TV and press ads were misleading because she thought they exaggerated the lash length that could be achieved by using the product.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
BCAP TV Code
L'Oreal (UK) Ltd (L'Oreal) said the claim "up to 60% longer lashes" in ads (a) and (b) was supported by scientific and consumer data. They submitted a dossier containing the product formula, a laboratory report on the lengthening properties of the product and the results of a consumer "Concept and Use" test.
LOreal explained that the tips of lashes were so fine that they were almost invisible to the naked eye and that mascara made the tips more visible, thereby giving a lengthening effect. They said their Telescopic mascara worked by separating, thickening at the roots and lengthening lashes from root to tip. LOreal said the results of the studies they submitted supported the claim "up to 60%" longer.
LOreal added that the lash length visual improvement demonstration in ad (a) corresponded to a length increase of 60% and submitted a letter from the LOreal Group Project Manager in support.
L'Oreal told the ASA that Penelope Cruz was wearing a few individual false lashes inserted into her natural lashes to fill in the gaps in her natural lashes for a consistent standard of lashes. They sent a signed affidavit from Penelope Cruz and from the make-up artist in support of that. They explained that Telescopic mascara was then applied over the lashes. L'Oreal argued that many women wore false lashes as part of their beauty routine and reiterated that up to 60% longer lashes could be achieved by using the mascara, irrespective of whether lashes were real or artificial.
The Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) said they had been content with the evidence and claims that L'Oreal submitted prior to script approval. They said they had received a written assurance that the demonstration sequence in the ad was a genuine visual representation of the lash result that could be achieved by using the mascara. The BACC told us they believed the TV ad did not exaggerate the lash-length that could be achieved by using the product and therefore was not misleading.
The ASA considered the evidence sent by L'Oreal to support the claim "up to 60% longer lashes". We noted from the lengthening study that 75% of subjects had a 60% increase or more in the visible length of their lashes when measured using digital imagery. We noted Penelope Cruz had had individual false eyelashes added to her natural lashes and noted L'Oreal's belief that up to 60% longer lashes could be achieved irrespective of whether lashes were real or artificial.
We acknowledged that the claim was intended to refer to the perceived increase in lash length, rather than an actual extension in the length of lashes, because lash tips were more visible after the application of mascara and that made lashes appear longer. We were satisfied that the image analysis test provided by LOreal showed the appearance of the length of the lashes had increased up to 60% and noted the consumer evaluations showed most people perceived a lengthening effect.
We were concerned that L'Oreal had, only at a very late stage in the investigation, appreciated the importance of telling us that Penelope Cruz was wearing individual false lashes and not, as they had earlier implied, a false set of eyelashes.
We were also concerned that the ads did not make clear that lashes would "appear" up to 60% longer and considered that some consumers could interpret the claim to refer to an actual extension in the length of lashes that could be achieved by using the mascara. Furthermore, while Penelope Cruz may not have been wearing a full set of false eyelashes, the images of her wearing individual false lashes in the press and TV ad and the lash lengthening visual in the TV ad nevertheless exaggerated the effect that could be achieved by using the mascara on natural lashes. We concluded that, in the absence of a disclaimer stating that Penelope Cruz was wearing some individual false lashes added to her natural lashes, and because the ad did not make clear that the claim referred to an increase in the "appearance" of lash length, the ads could mislead.
The TV ad breached CAP Broadcast (TV) Advertising Standards Code rule 5.1 (Misleading advertising).
The press ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.4 (Accuracy and perception) and 7.1 (Truthfulness) but did not breach clause 3.1 (Substantiation).
We told LOreal to include a disclaimer in future ads featuring models wearing false eyelashes, irrespective of whether those lashes were individually inserted to bring lashes to a consistent standard or whether they were a full set of false lashes. We also told them to ensure future ads made clear that the "up to 60%" claim referred to the appearance of the lashes, not to an actual extension in the length of lashes that could be achieved by using the mascara.
We also told L'Oreal to take greater care in future to provide us promptly with accurate information.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)