A magazine ad for mascara pictured three female models and read “LANCÔME PARIS Dreaming of a Doll Lash effect? HYPNÔSE DOLL EYES DOLL LASH EFFECT MASCARA - WIDE-EYED LOOK Volumised, extended, lifted lash look”. Loreal
A member of the public and Jo Swinson MP questioned whether the effect shown on the eyelashes in the ad was misleading as they believed it exaggerated the effect of the product beyond what the ordinary consumer could achieve.
L'Oréal (UK) Ltd trading as Lancôme Paris (Lancôme) said the image used was of styled and professionally photographed models, and provided a highly stylised and aspirational image. They said they had ensured the image used did not exaggerate the effect of the product beyond what the average consumer could achieve.
Lancôme said the product had been developed to provide volume, length and lift to the appearance of the lashes, creating a wide-eyed “doll eyes” look. They provided a report from laboratory testing which found that use of the product increased the appearance of eyelash curve, density, thickness, length and regularity. They also provided consumer testing scores for the product, which included the findings that consumers felt the product increased the appearance of eyelash length and volume, separated the lashes and made the eyes look bigger.
Lancôme said no lash inserts had been used. They said that post production techniques were used to add length to some individual lashes to create a uniform lash line effect and to tidy up the look of the lashes, which included replacing damaged or missing lashes, but said that volume (lash thickness) had not been added. They provided before and after laboratory pictures of testers wearing the product, saying the pictures showed the product volumised, extended and lifted the appearance of the lashes.
The ASA acknowledged that consumers expected images used in ads for beauty products to have used professional styling and photography. We further acknowledged that Lancôme had submitted the pictures from laboratory testing and consumer-use tests as evidence that the product could enhance the appearance of lash length and volume.
We understood that post production techniques had been used in the production of the image and noted that Lancôme had provided us with details of the techniques used. We considered that the length of the lashes shown in the ad did not go beyond likely consumer expectations of what was achievable using the product, and that the effect shown was in line with the tests on actual consumers. We noted Lancôme’s assurance that no lash inserts had been used, and that although damaged and missing lashes had been replaced using post production the thickness of the lashes had not been increased.
On the basis of the evidence provided, we concluded that Lancôme had demonstrated that the ad accurately illustrated what the product could achieve. We therefore concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 3.11 Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product. (Exaggeration) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.