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ASA Adjudication on Coty UK Ltd

Coty UK Ltd t/a Rimmel London

St George's House
5 St George's Road
Wimbledon
London
SW19 4DR

Date:

24 November 2010

Media:

Television, Magazine

Sector:

Health and beauty

Number of complaints:

1

Agency:

J W T

Complaint Ref:

126569

Ad

Two magazine ads and a TV ad, for 1-2-3 Looks Mascara from Rimmel, featured the model Georgia May Jagger.

a. The first magazine ad showed three images of the model Georgia May Jagger in profile. The model’s eyelashes were progressively longer and more prominent in each image. Text stated “DIAL BETWEEN 1 AND 3 - 3 HOT LOOKS IN 1 MASCARA ADJUSTABLE LASH VOLUME FROM LIGHT TO DRAMATIC MULTI-STYLE BRUSH HITS EVERY LASH”. Vertical small print text stated “Shot with lash inserts”.

b. The second magazine ad was headed “3 HOT LOOKS IN 1 MASCARA! ADJUSTABLE LASH VOLUME TURN TO 1 FOR UP TO 3X MORE VOLUME TURN TO 2 FOR UP TO 5X MORE VOLUME TURN TO 3 FOR UP TO 10X MORE VOLUME”. Three photographs of a model’s eye were shown, labelled “LOOK-1”, “LOOK-2” and “LOOK-3” and the model’s eyelashes were progressively longer and more prominent in each image. Vertical small print text stated “Shot with lash inserts”.

c. The TV ad featured a voice-over who stated “Rimmel London new 1-2-3 Looks Mascara. Just turn the dial. Adjustable lash volume from light to dramatic … three hot looks in one mascara”. Close-ups showed the model Georgia May Jagger’s eyes with lash length appearing to increase with each ‘look’. On-screen text stated “Shot with lash inserts”.

Issue

1. The complainant challenged whether the ads were misleading, because they believed the differing effect in each image or look was achieved by using an increasing number and length of lash inserts, which exaggerated the effect achievable from the use of the product alone.

2. The ASA challenged whether the small print disclaimer "shot with lash inserts" in ads (a) and (b) was sufficiently clear.

CAP Code (Edition 11)

BCAP TV Code

Response

1. Coty UK Ltd, trading as Rimmel London, (Coty) stated that they had no plans to re-run either the press or TV ads for 1-2-3 Looks Mascara. They explained that, to achieve the three different looks, users could adjust a dial on the mascara bottle which adjusted a wiper inside, which controlled the amount of mascara that was dispensed onto the mascara brush, allowing three different volume results, from light to dramatic. They said that the images of Georgia May Jaggers eyelashes were an accurate representation of the three differing lash looks that could be achieved by using the product. They had used lash inserts in the ad to ensure a consistent and aesthetic lash look on a close-up photo shoot, and not to present an exaggerated or unachievable eye lash look. They confirmed that different length lash inserts were used in the ads, but that they did not have any records which reflected the number of false lashes used. They said the different length lash inserts were not intended to mislead consumers about the products achievable effects, but made the effects recognisable for the camera in a close-up professional and highly stylised photo shoot, as opposed to an everyday natural setting. They said everyones eyelashes were different and varied, but felt that the disclosed use of false lashes was a common practice in mascara ads, which consumers were familiar with, and, in and of itself, did not render the product claims or ad misleading. They stated that they had based their claims that using the product would result in increased lash volume on a scientific digital image analysis study conducted in August 2009, the object of which was to determine the percentage increase in the volume of eyelashes after application of the mascara.

Clearcast provided their comments in relation to the TV ad only. It was their understanding, based on previous ASA adjudications, that the advertisers could use lash inserts and post-production techniques, as long as this was made clear in the ad. They said the TV ad included the disclaimer "shot with lash inserts", which appropriately appeared on screen while the product was being demonstrated, and the visuals reflected what the product could achieve, based on the evidence provided. They said the close-up shot of Look 3, which showed the maximum delivery from the mascara, also clearly showed the model with heavier eyeliner and added that the lashes were more heavily coated, as the look was a more dramatic one, which was what the product was intended to achieve. They said they had been supplied with the mascara prior to approving the ad and were satisfied that it did what it claimed and that the three looks were easily achievable. They said the way the product looked would depend on the wearers own natural lashes.

2. Coty felt that they had complied with the requirements that qualifying claims should be clear and legible, prominent enough both to capture a readers attention and to counter-balance potentially misleading primary claims. They stated that the CAP Code did not impose a certain positioning of small print, or mandate that it be presented as horizontal text, but indicated that the appropriate placing of qualifying claims depended on a series of elements. They said they chose to incorporate the line vertically as a way of managing the overall look and art direction of the press ad, while ensuring that the claim was visible and legible. They did not believe that readers would encounter any difficulties in reading the line. They added that they had felt it was important to include the line as it provided absolute transparency about the way the model had been photographed. They said the use of lash inserts helped the overall aesthetic of the ad, but did not consider that that exaggerated the effect that could be achieved by using the product.

Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that the use of lash inserts was disclosed, but that the ad did not make it clear that the lash inserts used were of different lengths. We noted that the digital image analysis study provided was designed to test and support the claims that the three different dial settings provided "3X", "5X" and "10X MORE VOLUME". We acknowledged that the tests suggested that increasing the dial settings could deliver increased volume, but also understood that the study had involved product tests on only five subjects and were concerned that that sample was very small. We also understood that the advertisers had used different length lash inserts in the ads, to recreate the three different looks. Although we understood that the effect achieved using the product would depend on the users eyelashes, we considered that we had not seen sufficient evidence to show that the visual representation could be achieved through use of the product only.

Because we considered that the use of different length lash inserts applied to the eyelash area was likely to distort the visual representation of the effect achievable from the use of the product alone, we concluded the images in the ad were misleading.

On this point, the press ads breached CAP Code (Edition 11) 7.1 and 7.2 (Truthfulness) and the TV ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.2.2 (Implications) and 5.4.1 (Visual techniques and special effects)

2. Upheld

We noted that the disclaimer, which set out that the images were shot using lash inserts, was printed vertically and to the side of the ad. We considered that the size and the position of that small print were not prominent enough to capture a readers attention. We concluded therefore that the information set out in the disclaimer was not sufficiently clear.

On that point, the press ads breached CAP Code (Edition 11) clauses 7.1 and 7.2 (Truthfulness).

Action

The ads must not appear or be broadcast again in their current form.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)

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