The Advertising Standards Authority in the U.K. (which has notoriously strict guidelines for transparency in marketing) ruled on Wednesday that a new Rimmel mascara ad featuring Cara Delevingne is "misleading," stating that "the ad must not appear again in its current form." The Guardian has found and posted the ad in question:
It's fairly standard — if slightly over-produced — for a mascara commercial. You get the usual brush closeup, as well as an ultra-tight crop of Delevingne's lashes. The problem with that, according to the ASA? The lashes shown aren't her own, natural lashes, but lash inserts. The ASA also asserts that the commercial has been airbrushed excessively, contributing to the misleading nature of the visual representation.
According to The Guardian, Rimmel's parent company, Coty U.K., defended the ad, "saying that while there had been post-production treatment, it still provided an accurate representation of the product and its characteristics." Women's Wear Daily reports that Rimmel "regret" the ASA's decision, but will nonetheless comply with its ruling, refraining from airing the commercial again on TV in its current form.
Mascara brands have come under fire for misleading consumers with false lashes stateside, too. In 2013, Maybelline's Volum'Express The Rocket Mascara was deemed "literally false" by the National Advertising Division, which falls under the Better Business Bureau. At that time, Maybelline refuted the claims by arguing that the fine print at the bottom of their ad offered sufficient transparency. "Women know that the product's results will differ for reasons such as their own personal features and makeup techniques," Rebecca Caruso, the vice president of communications for L'Oréal U.S.A. (Maybelline's parent company) said in an interview with The New York Times at the time. “They do not expect to look like the model in the ad."
And even before that, a 2011 CoverGirl mascara ad featuring Taylor Swift was criticized for being overly manipulated, prompting Procter & Gamble to pull it from rotation. The ASA in the U.K. called out Dior for a Diorshow mascara print ad featuring Natalie Portman in 2012, and in 2010, it banned a Rimmel ad for using lash inserts on Georgia May Jagger, according to The New York Times.
While it would seem that this scenario is far from new (and certainly not limited to any one brand or company), there's still work to be done when it comes to transparency in cosmetics advertising.