Ad description

A TV ad for mascara seen on 10 October 2011, featured a voice-over that stated, "... The secret? Our collagen enriched formula and claw brush flick out and extend the look of lashes at the corners, for up to seven times more volume ...". The ad featured close ups of a model wearing the mascara.


A viewer challenged whether the ad was misleading, because she believed that post-production techniques had exaggerated the effects of the product, and went beyond what an ordinary consumer could achieve.


L'Oreal (UK) Ltd t/a Maybelline (Maybelline) said their advertising agency had been very careful to ensure the ad showed lashes that were realistic in length, thickness and quantity, and to ensure that the ad complied with the CAP Help Note on the use of production techniques in cosmetics advertising.

Maybelline provided a list of product ingredients and said the product contained film-forming, lash-adhering cationic and anionic polymers and volumising waxes that coated the lashes on application, increasing thickness and length. They said the claw brush was specially designed to catch every lash and comb lashes out at the corners. They said the combination of the product's formula and the brush lengthened the look of lashes at the corners and made them look fuller, giving a feline flick and open-eyed intense look.

Maybelline provided the results of volume testing and photographs of consumers wearing the product, and said they used the photos as a reference point to ensure the illustrated effect was achievable. They said the ad images were in line with the consumer photos, despite the fact that the consumer photos were amateur photos while the ad was professionally produced and featured a highly stylised model.

Maybelline said they submitted a press ad with an almost identical image of the lashes to the CAP Copy Advice team, who said they considered that the illustrated effect was likely to be acceptable under the CAP Code.

Clearcast said they had been provided with before and after shots of models using the product, and had been assured by the agency and the advertiser that the ad had been created in line with the CAP Help Note on production techniques in cosmetics advertising. They said on that basis they thought the ad should be approved.


Not upheld

The ASA noted that Maybelline had submitted before and after photographs of consumers using the product, which showed the product could extend the look of lashes at the corners and give lashes more volume. We understood that post production techniques had been used in the production of the ad but considered the length and volume of the lashes shown in the ad did not go beyond what a consumer would expect to be able to achieve when using the product, and that the illustrated effect shown was in line with the effects shown in the consumer photos. Because of that we considered the post-production techniques had not exaggerated the effects of the product, and concluded the ad was not misleading.

We investigated the ad under 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) but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.


3.1     3.12     3.9    

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