ASA Adjudication on Clinique Laboratories Ltd
Clinique Laboratories Ltd
73 Grosvenor Street
16 May 2012
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Not upheld.
A TV ad, for Repairwear Laser Focus wrinkle serum, seen in September 2011, featured a young woman looking at the camera as a beam of light swept across her face giving the impression of a before and after shot. The voice-over stated "Women agree, skin is smoother and looks younger. Even around the eye. Three drops, twice a day, to help forgive the past and support the future. A second chance for every skin ..." On-screen text stated "79% of 221 women".
A viewer challenged whether:
1. the use of a young looking model in the ad gave a misleading impression of the efficacy of the product, because her skin was likely to be in good condition; and
2. the claim "Women agree, skin is smoother and looks younger" based on "79% of 221 women" was misleading and could be substantiated.
1. Clinique said the beam of light that passed across the model's face was not intended to be an efficacy claim, but a play on the name of the product and pointed out that the model's skin did not change as the light passed over it. They believed using a model with skin in good condition in a skincare advert, in which no claim was made about the condition of the model's skin, was not misleading; they also believed the model's age and attractiveness would be evident to viewers. Clinique said the ad, as well as referring to younger looking skin, was also about smoother skin and looking after skin for the future, both of which would be of interest for younger women like the model.
Clearcast said the ad was not a testimonial and the woman was simply a model intended to showcase beautiful skin. They believed that it was not misleading to use a beautiful model to promote the concept of smooth and beautiful skin.
2. Clinique said 221 women participated in a Consumer Perception study and, after eight weeks of product use, were asked to complete a product questionnaire rating the benefits of the product. The results showed that 90% of women agreed that their skin looked smoother and 79% agreed that the skin looked younger around the eyes. Clinique said that they were advised by Clearcast that, because the on-screen text would need to reflect both results, the 79% response result should be used instead of the 90% result.
Clearcast said they provided their Consultant with the Consumer Perception data and he confirmed that the data supported the claim "Women agree, skin is smoother and looks younger". Clearcast said the number of women surveyed was well within the parameters generally accepted for making such claims. They said their Consultant advised that for clarity, because the response percentages for smoother and younger looking skin were different, the lower figure should be referenced in the ad. Clearcast believed the on-screen text "79% of 221 women" made the basis for the claims transparent and the Consumer Perception results substantiated the claims.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted the ad claimed that the product could help make skin smoother and appear younger looking and, in the context of impressionistic subjective claims of that type, we considered that the use of a young looking model was acceptable and likely to be regarded as an aspirational image. We noted the beam of light that crossed the model's face but also noted that there was no difference in the appearance of her skin before or after and considered that viewers were likely to understand the image to imply that using the product could help the model's skin remain smooth and young looking in appearance. We therefore concluded that the use of a young looking model would not mislead viewers about the efficacy of the product.
On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.12 (Exaggeration) but did not find it misleading.
2. Not upheld
We noted the Consumer Perception study data had shown that the participants had rated the product positively for perceived improvement in skin smoothness, younger looking skin and younger looking skin around the eyes. We considered that, in the context of a general claim that referred to the appearance and feel of the skin, a consumer perception test was relevant substantiation. We noted the on-screen text made clear the number of women surveyed and the percentage of those participants who had responded positively. We considered that the survey results supported the claims in the ad and, because it was clear that the claims related to subjective perception of the skin's smoothness and appearance, we concluded that the ad was not misleading on this point.
On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 (Substantiation) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.