A press ad for 'nanoblur' was headed "nanoblur GET FLAWLESS SKIN FOR THE HOLIDAYS! WITHOUT ADDITIONAL MAKEUP WITHOUT PROCEDURES WITHOUT PHOTO RETOUCHING". A woman's face was pictured. One half of her face was labelled "UNTREATED" and the other half labelled "TREATED (IN 40 SECONDS)".
Proctor & Gamble UK, challenged whether the image in the ad was misleading and whether the implied effect of the product could be substantiated.
Indeed Laboratories Inc said the image had been running in their advertising since 2009 and the effects of the product could be substantiated. They said nanoblur was a topical skin perfecting/diffusing cream and the photo had been taken in real time immediately following product application. They said the product was applied to one side of the model's face and the photo was then taken. The model was wearing some lip liner, lip gloss and eye shadow, but was not wearing foundation or any other facial skin product. They supplied a high resolution copy of the photo and said the face was evenly lit with two lights positioned either side of her face. They supplied a signed assurance from the production company stating that the image had not been digitally manipulated. They also provided three additional images showing the effect of the product on the hands and another model's face.
The ASA understood the image in the ad showed a model with the product applied to half her face to demonstrate the effect of the product, and that no changes had been made to the photo. We understood that the product was a cosmetic cream applied to the skin to soften the appearance of skin imperfections. The model in the photo did not appear to have any large blemishes on the "untreated" side, and the main effect of the product appeared to be mattifying, softening and giving a more even skin tone. The three other photos supplied showed a similar effect. Because we had been provided with a signed assurance that the photo had not been manipulated and we considered that the effects were in line with what a cosmetic cream could achieve, we concluded the image was not misleading and the implied effect of the product had been substantiated.
Investigated under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.
Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product.
Claims that are likely to be interpreted as factual and appear in a testimonial must not mislead or be likely to mislead the consumer.
(Endorsements and testimonials) and
Objective claims must be backed by evidence, if relevant consisting of trials conducted on people. Substantiation will be assessed on the basis of the available scientific knowledge.
Medicinal or medical claims and indications may be made for a medicinal product that is licensed by the MHRA, VMD or under the auspices of the EMA, or for a CE-marked medical device. A medicinal claim is a claim that a product or its constituent(s) can be used with a view to making a medical diagnosis or can treat or prevent disease, including an injury, ailment or adverse condition, whether of body or mind, in human beings.
Secondary medicinal claims made for cosmetic products as defined in the appropriate European legislation must be backed by evidence. These are limited to any preventative action of the product and may not include claims to treat disease. (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
No further action necessary.