Anti-wrinkle cream ad was misleading, rules advertising watchdog

There is no firm evidence that a best-selling skin cream reduces wrinkles, an official investigation has found.

In the latest blow to the reputation of creams offering women the elixir of youth, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that Johnson & Johnson's sales pitch for RoC Complete Lift was not supported by "robust science".

In press advertising, Johnson & Johnson claimed a two-month clinical study proved that its product gave middle-aged women young-looking skin. An independent expert found, however, that the study's methodology was flawed because it lacked objective measures, records and corroborating photography. In addition, it had been carried out by a Johnson & Johnson employee.

"We concluded the ad was misleading," said the ASA, which banned the advert and warned the US medical, pharmaceuticals and consumer giant to consult the Committee of Advertising Practice before advertising again.

The ruling, made public today, is the latest of several blows to the reputation of skin creams in recent years, including four last year: against Avon's ThermaFirm; The Body Shop's Wise Woman; Nivea's DNAage cream; and Clarins' Expertise 3P – which claimed to protect women against "electromagnetic waves".

Three years ago, the ASA criticised L'Oreal's campaign for Anti-Wrinkle De-crease featuring the German supermodel Claudia Schiffer. In the same year, the watchdog criticised claims made for Estée Lauder's anti-cellulite Visible Contouring Serum. The ASA has also made rulings against skin creams made by Chanel, Max Huber and Dior in recent years.

In the latest embarrassment to the £15bn-a-year global cosmetics industry, Johnson & Johnson claimed that women who used RoC CompleteLift would experience a "measurable lift".

A patented ingredient in the product called THPE was "clinically proven to work in just 8 weeks of use," the advert said. A footnote explained: "Clinical study, 41 women, 8 weeks of use."

Members of the public complained after noticing another statement in the small print that the product did not give a "physical lift".

Johnson & Johnson said in its defence that its research showed the product gave a "measurable lift" as long as people used it – rather than a permanent lift.

An experienced grader had applied a placebo cream and the RoC CompleteLift product to each side of the faces of 41 women aged between 45 and 65. After eight weeks, the company said, the placebo side had "very pronounced sagging" while its product had ensured "no sagging at all." Most of a further 204 women who had tried the cream were also satisfied by its lifting action, Johnson & Johnson added.

A 50ml tub costs £17.99.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Display Account Manager

£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director

£80 – 120K : Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director – Ad tech - £80 – 120K...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum