Rimmel is given a lashing over claims in mascara advert

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Mick Jagger's daughter has become the latest face of a misleading beauty campaign. British brand Rimmel exaggerated the benefits of a mascara by pinning false eyelashes on Georgia May Jagger, the singer's daughter by Jerry Hall, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled today.

Banning the TV and magazine ads, the ASA said the use of false eyelashes had exaggerated the effectiveness of 1-2-3 Looks Mascara and complained Rimmel's research about its benefits had only been conducted on five women.

A string of ads starring models and actresses have been banned in the past five years for duping the public about the efficacy of skin creams and eye products. Last December, the ASA censured the US household products giant Procter & Gamble for airbrushing ads in which the sixties model Twiggy hailed Olay Definity eye cream as her "secret to brighter-looking eyes".

Three years ago another Rimmel ad for mascara was banned for digitally enhancing Kate Moss's eyelashes. The ASA added Rimmel had failed to prove the campaign had shown the model's own eyelashes. And the same year L'Oréal – whose claims for a wrinkle cream promoted by Claudia Schiffer were banned by the ASA in 2005 – was criticised for using a picture of Penelope Cruz in false eyelashes to promote mascara.

In June, however, Cheryl Cole escaped trouble when the ASA rejected complaints that she should not have advertised L'Oreal shampoo while wearing hair extensions.

The rulings come amid growing controversy over the depiction of women in beauty ads, which campaigners claim make ordinary women feel bad about themselves by depicting unattainable looks. Rimmel's latest adverts, for 1-2-3 Looks Mascara, focused on the eyes of 28-year-old Georgia May Jagger.

To highlight the eyelash thickener's different settings, they advised women they could achieve "three hot looks in one mascara", and close-ups showed Ms Jagger's eyelashes appearing to increase with each "look". But the ASA discovered that each "look" was achieved using false eyelashes rather than the model's own.

Rimmel's owner Coty UK said it had used false eyelashes "to ensure a consistent and aesthetic lash look" , not to present an exaggerated or unachievable look. A small print below the ads stating "shot with lash inserts" should have been enough to alert the public to the use of false eyelashes, the company added.

But the ASA disagreed, saying the warning was too small and that using the false eyelashes distorted the impact that could be achieved by the product.

Banning the adverts, the ASA said: "Because we considered that the use of different length lash inserts applied to the eyelash area was likely to distort the visual representation of the effect achievable from the use of the product alone, we concluded the images in the ad were misleading."

The Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence, welcomed the ASA's latest ruling, saying: "The beauty industry has a long way to go in promoting honesty in the content of the pictures it uses, rather than presenting totally unachievable aspirations of beauty and faked images."