"Skin looks smoother," cooed the text alongside a magazine advert showing a picture of the Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz. "Complexion looks more even," it added, as an encouragement to the reader to buy L'Oréal product Revitalift Repair 10. But the beauty company had not been able to resist using digital trickery to enhance even the looks of a Hollywood leading lady.
As the Advertising Standards Authority said yesterday, Weisz's "image had been altered in a way that substantially changed her complexion to make it appear smoother and more even" in the advert, pictured. It ordered L'Oréal not to use the ad again and to ensure it did not use post-production techniques "in a way that misrepresented what was achievable using the advertised product".
L'Oréal has form in this area. Last year it was found to have used digital post-production techniques to enhance a Mario Testino photograph of Julia Roberts in an ad for Lancome, which the ASA said was "misleading".
The company also digitally re-touched an image of Christy Turlington used to sell Maybelline foundation.
The ASA also upheld that complaint which, as with the other two against L'Oréal, was brought by the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, Jo Swinson.
The ASA also ruled against the world's largest travel website, TripAdvisor, over its claims that all its online reviews were authentic comments from genuine travellers. Following a series of complaints, including two from hotels, TripAdvisor told the ASA that it used "advanced and highly effective fraud detection systems" to screen out non-genuine reviews. But the watchdog noted that "reviews could be placed on the site without any form of verification" and that "it was possible that non-genuine content would appear on the site undetected".
It ruled that, despite TripAdvisor's requirement that reviewers must "confirm that they had no competitive interest", such a declaration would not "necessarily prevent non-genuine reviews from being posted on the site".
It found that TripAdvisor's claim to feature "more than 50 million honest travel reviews and opinions from real travellers around the world" was misleading. The site was forbidden from future claims that "all the reviews that appeared on the website were from real travellers, or were honest, real or trusted".
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