A TV ad and a press ad for L'Oreal Paris Age Perfect moisturising cream, both of which featured the actress Helen Mirren.
a. The TV ad featured Helen Mirren being offered a seat at a bus stop and looking unhappy, while her voice-over stated, "Ever feel like you go unnoticed? And when you aren't, well, enough". The product was shown while a male voice-over stated, "L'Oreal, Paris, Age Perfect with Soya Peptides". Helen Mirren then stated, "It's the science I trust to help me look like me. Nourish and indulge your skin, and show those age spots who's boss. Grow another year bolder. Look and feel more radiant. Our perfect age is now. So are we worth it? More than ever." During this voice-over there were several close-ups of Helen Mirren's face and towards the end of the ad she was shown dressed in a leather jacket and bold make-up, and glancing at a younger man. On-screen text during the ad read ”Nourished with moisture. Age spots appear reduced. Radiance”.
b. The press ad was headed "FOR THE PERFECT AGE LOOK REJUVENATED IRRESISTEBLY RADIANT" and featured an image of Helen Mirren's face with a quote from her that stated "Age is just a number and maths was never my thing!". Under the heading "AGE PERFECT" an image of the product was featured alongside text that stated "Age spots appear reduced Skin feels nourished with moisture Complexion looks more radiant".
The complainant, who believed that post-production techniques had been used to alter Helen Mirren's appearance, specifically with regards to the lines around her mouth, challenged whether the ads misleadingly exaggerated the likely effect that could be achieved by consumers.
L'Oreal (UK) Ltd t/a L'Oreal Paris stated that they wanted to ensure their depiction of Helen Mirren was in keeping with her public image. They enclosed four images of Ms Mirren from recent red carpet events and stated that the images of her in the ads were entirely in line with such public appearances when she had been professionally styled and made-up. They noted in particular that the lines around her mouth were consistent in both the ads and the red carpet photos. L'Oreal Paris provided a list of the post-production techniques that had been used in ad (b), none of which related to wrinkles or to the skin on her face or neck, and confirmed that no post-production changes were made to Ms Mirren's face in ad (a). They provided signed affidavits to this effect from the production agencies. L'Oreal Paris also provided the results of their instrumental and consumer perception testing with regard to the moisture, radiance and age spot reduction claims made in both ads.
With regard to ad (a) only, Clearcast stated that the claims made in the ad were based on a combination of instrumental and consumer perception data, and that the majority were established claims that had been used in previous ads for the products so had already been seen, assessed and approved. They stated that the new claim, relating to radiance, had been supported by a consumer perception trial in which 72% of 97 women agreed with the statement on which the claim was based, and that on-screen text was added to clarify this. Clearcast stated that L'Oreal Paris were aware of the compliance requirements as regards post-production techniques, and that they had provided confirmation that no post-production changes were made to the visuals.
The ASA considered that consumers would expect Helen Mirren to have been professionally styled and made-up for the photo shoot, and to have been photographed and filmed professionally in flattering conditions. With regard to ad (b), we understood that some re-touching had been carried out but that the changes were minor and did not relate in any way to the claims made for the product. We considered this approach was acceptable so long as the resulting effect was not one which misleadingly exaggerated the effect the product was capable of achieving. With regard to ad (a), we acknowledged the affidavit provided by the production agency. We noted that wrinkles were clearly visible on Ms Mirren's face in both ads, including across her forehead and around her mouth. We considered that the recent press images of Ms Mirren would have reflected a similar degree of professional styling and make-up as the images in the ad, without any post-production amendments, and that her appearance in the ads was comparable to those more candid images. We therefore considered that the ads had not altered Ms Mirren's appearance in a way that would exaggerate the likely effect that could be achieved by consumers' use of the product, and concluded that the ads were not misleading.
We investigated ad (a) 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), and ad (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 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. (Substantiation) and 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Exaggeration), but did not find them in breach.
No further action required.