A TV ad for a Rimmel mascara seen on 8 December 2016. The voice-over stated, “Rimmel introduces Cara Delevingne for new Scandaleyes Reloaded mascara. Dangerously bold lashes. New max-density brush for clump free lashes. Extreme volume … Extreme wear.” The ad also included several images of the product being applied to eye lashes and a model wearing the mascara.
The complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly exaggerated the likely effects of the product.
Coty UK Ltd said that the ad provided an accurate representation of the product and its characteristics. Coty provided before and after pictures; they said that the before image was with lash inserts with the mascara applied, and the after picture featured the post-production treatment. They also provided an image of Cara Delevingne’s ‘bare’ lashes which they said showed that they were similar, before and after application of the mascara. Coty said the before and after photos demonstrated that in both situations the model had full and long lashes. They stated, that in accordance with industry practice, they used individual lash inserts only to fill in gaps and to create a uniform lash line. Coty said that in post-production some lashes were re-drawn where they were not visible due to the model’s dark eyeshadow. At that stage, however, the lashes had not been lengthened or thickened.
Clearcast reiterated Coty’s response that they acted in accordance with the relevant guidelines on cosmetic production techniques and had not used lash inserts to mislead or exaggerate the effects of the mascara. Furthermore, they said that Coty had not lengthened or thickened any lashes in post-production.
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand from the product name "Scandaleyes Reloaded mascara" along with the voice-over description "New max-density brush for clump free lashes. Extreme volume", particularly in conjunction with the visuals, to mean that after application, eyelashes would appear thicker and fuller. We therefore considered that consumers would expect to experience similar results to those shown in the ad.
We noted Coty's assertion that in post-production some lashes were re-drawn to make them more visible and that it was industry practice to use individual lash inserts to fill in gaps to create a uniform lash line. We appreciated that in some circumstances the use of lash inserts may be appropriate, such as to fill in natural gaps in the lash line. However, we considered that lash inserts should not create a lengthening or volumising effect beyond what could be achieved by the mascara on the model's natural lashes. We assessed the before and after photos provided by Coty alongside the ad. We noted that the after photos showed more evenly displayed eyelashes on the upper and lower eyelids, which made them appear to have more volume. We noted Coty's assertion that the post-production techniques used were not intended to lengthen the model's eyelashes. However, we considered that they did appear to be longer in the after photo. While it was not clear whether this was due to the lash inserts or the 're-drawing' of some lashes in post-production, or both, we considered that the overall effect was longer lashes with more volume.
Because the ad conveyed a volumising, lengthening and thickening effect of the product we considered the use of lash inserts and the post-production technique were likely to exaggerate the effect beyond what could be achieved by the product among consumers.
We therefore concluded the ad was misleading.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is 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. (Substantiation) and 3.12 3.12 Advertisements must not mislead by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service. (Exaggeration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Coty UK Ltd not to exaggerate the effect the product was capable of achieving.