New Wrinkle in the Advertising World


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Cosmetics companies have given a new meaning to the term “beauty before age,” and it’s gotten them the old heave-ho in Britain.

Two spots for Lancome and Maybelline were banned in Britain because the models featured in the spots, Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts, were digitally enhanced to the point that they “breached the advertising standards code for exaggeration and being misleading,” according to Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority. Both brands are owned by L’Oreal.

Bravo! I wish American ad regulators had done this years ago. Too many times I’ve come across ads featuring someone who looked sort-of like Madonna or Sarah Jessica Parker or some other celebrity, but maybe 20 years ago. What gives?

I suspect I know how this started. Several years ago, during a major company’s annual shareholder meeting, an outspoken investor stood up and scolded the CEO for featuring 20-year-olds in its face cream commercials. After all, the company wasn’t targeting its expensive face cream to college students. There should be honesty in advertising, she said.

Making the faces of middle-aged women look preternaturally young, only to sell foundation, is just as dishonest. And it’s made worse by the fact that Roberts and Turlington are naturally beautiful women.

How would Lancome and Maybelline treat us regular old consumers who keep the companies afloat? If I use their products, should I lie?

Lisa Biank Fasig
Lisa leads the creation of editorials and feature stories for COLLOQUY and oversees the work of contributing editors and writers. With 18 years of reporting experience, most in business and specifically consumer behavior, she is highly skilled at researching data and teasing out the trends. A background in graphic design enables her to see ideas in three dimensions and tell the story visually.


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