The ASA has been quizzed by the BBC TV consumer programme Watchdog about the rules and guidance surrounding cosmetic advertising. The interview explored the use of post-production techniques, such as airbrushing, that are commonly used in ads for perfume, hair, make-up and skincare products. The advertising rules in this area are very clear, cosmetic ads must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product. A lot of work has been undertaken in the last 12 months to set clear guidelines on what is and is not acceptable and we’re now seeing changes in the way these products are advertised.

Advertisers are, of course, allowed to promote their products in the best possible light. But they have to ensure that they stick to the rules; for example, removing or reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes of a model for an eye cream is unacceptable. Plus, while the use of qualifying text is acceptable when used to provide further information about a product, if an ad is misleading it remains so regardless of the insertion of a qualification.

Visit the Watchdog website to find out what our Director of Communications, Lynsay Taffe, had to say on the issue.

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