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L'Oreal ad banned for making Rachel Weisz look 'misleadingly' smooth

Feb. 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM ET

Loreal, Getty Images /
Too smooth? The British Advertising Standards Authority claim actress Rachel Weisz, shown at right at a Jul. 27, 2011 screening of "The Whistleblower", was far too airbrushed in a recent L'Oreal print ad.

By Justin Fenner, Styleite

The British Advertising Standards Authority released a ruling Wednesday banning a print ad for L’Oreal‘s Revitalift Repair 10 because it used a digitally altered image of actress Rachel Weisz that “misleadingly exaggerated” how well the product works. The Authority also asked L’Oreal to stop using post production techniques (i.e. Photoshop) that “misrepresented what was achievable using the advertised product.”

Reuters reports that the initial complaints about the ad, which was released in 2010, came from Jo Swinson, a member of the British Parliament who founded the Campaign for Body Confidence. She’s managed to convince the ASA to ban ads in the past (remember that Julia Roberts ad for Lancome?) but never before has the organization asked a company to flat-out stop digitally altering its images — and L’Oreal has admitted airbrushing the Academy Award-winner's skin to look more even. The decision reads:

“Although we considered that the image in the ad did not misrepresent the luminosity or wrinkling of Rachel Weisz’s face, we considered that the image had been altered in a way that substantially changed her complexion to make it appear smoother and more even.

“We therefore concluded that the image in the ad … misleadingly exaggerated the performance of the product in relation to the claims ‘SKIN LOOKS SMOOTHER’ and ‘COMPLEXION LOOKS MORE EVEN’.”

And when you consider the ASA’s penchant for banning beauty and fashion ads left, right and center, the fact that this one has been pulled from magazines isn’t all that surprising. But what is surprising is that the ASA thinks L’Oreal (or any beauty company, for that matter) will comply with the request to not use Photoshop. A statement from the company says that whether or not they used airbrushing, their product would still work as advertised.

“We believe that the image in the advertisement is a true representation of Rachel Weisz. The product claims are based on extensive scientific research which proved that the product improves 10 different signs of skin aging. We therefore do not believe that the ad exaggerates the effect that can be achieved using this product.”

Take a look at Weisz in the print ad above and in the commercial below and tell us if you think the ad is telling the truth.

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