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Airbrushed ADs Banned in the U.K.

Airbrushed ADs Banned in the U.K.

Julia Roberts has topped People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People more times than anyone else in the world, but that doesn’t mean she’s immune to a little digital touch-up.

Cosmetics giant L’OReal landed in hot water with British MP Jo Swinson, who stated that advertisements depicting Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington exemplified the “dishonest and misleading nature of excessive retouching”.

Swinson brought her complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the British advertising industry self-regulatory organization. Despite L’Oreal’s insistence that the Photoshop jobs were “accurate illustrations” of Roberts and Turlington, the ASA banned the campaigns from publication today.

Turlington’s advertisement was for The Eraser, an anti-aging foundation. The photograph appears as if parts of Turlington’s face was covered in the foundation and parts of it weren’t. The parts that aren’t covered by foundation made Turlington, a longtime smoker, appear as if she shaved two decades off of her 42-year-old face.

But the ASA can only base their ban on assumptions — L’Oreal declined to provide “before” images because Roberts’ contract prevented their release. Swinson was outraged by this refusal, telling The Guardian that, “It shows just how ridiculous things have become when there is such fear over an unairbrushed photo that even the advertising regulator isn’t permitted to see it.”

If advertisers and magazines can find flaws in the most beautiful women in the world, what does that say for the rest of us?!

Do you agree with the ban? Do you think airbrushing is out of control?


Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Read more: Beauty, Body Image, Conscious Consumer, Do Good, Fashion, Make-Up, News & Issues, Skin Care, Teens, Women's Health

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
10:52PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Thank you.

10:51PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Thank you.

10:51PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Thank you.

10:50PM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Thank you.

10:52AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013


5:19AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

Yes, air brushing is out of control. Many times you might as well use a total computer graphic instead of a live model. It's ridiculous and misleading.

1:15AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

I worked in the advertising industry for a long time to know that air-brushing or 'photo-shop' is a must have tool unfortunately. I am in my 40's now, I am what I'm, I'm no longer flawless, I have done photo shoots too, not a big fan of having my pics being air-brushed seriously. Here is what I've to share --- if the cosmetic companies are truthful and confident about their products,,, Let the product truly speak for itself!!! Use normal common people, lay off the need to use young Hollywood stars and keep air-brushing to a min! We are all humans, no one is perfect, regardless our age or gender, but don't lie or over state it with ads!!!

I hope more countries would follow suit in this matter!

7:48PM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

There aren't many times that I would like Australia to follow the "mother" country, but this is one one.
Well done Jo Swinson for being proactive about this blatant fraud that is perpetrated on the public.

7:15PM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

Excellant. Thank you.

2:17PM PDT on Sep 23, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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