Britain Holds L'Oreal Accountable for False Advertsing

Last September here on the SheHeroes blog we talked about an important news item that was happening in Britain in a blog post, Britain Holds Fashion Magazines and Advertisers To a Higher Standard. In the post we talked about how British officials would be meeting with advertisers, fashion editors and health experts to discuss how to help girls obtain a healthier body image. We very excited that the British government was planning on taking bold steps in holding advertisers accountable for the unrealistic images they put out into the world that inevitably are seen by girls and women across the globe.

It has been almost a year since those talks and now we are actually seeing some of the effects of those discussions. A series of L’Oreal ads, which feature Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington, have been banned in Britain for being overly airbrushed. Yes, I said BANNED.

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found the prints ads, which included digitally enhanced images of the women to be misleading to consumers. Statements on its website claimed, “the two magazine advertisements did not accurately represent what Maybelline's The Eraser and Lancome's Teint Miracle foundations could achieve, based on the information they supplied.”

The complaints were made by Jo Swinson, a Liberal Democratic MP in which she stated, “Excessive airbrushing and digital manipulation techniques have become the norm, but both Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts are naturally beautiful women who don't need retouching to look great.This ban sends a powerful message to advertisers - let's get back to reality."

L’Oreal was given the option to show the ASA before and after pictures to prove how little enhancing was done (as L’Oreal claims) but L’Oreal was unable to do so resulting in the ban in accordance with ASA regulations.

This is a huge statement to make in the fashion world especially in the U.K. Could this really be the start of getting back to reality for advertising? We are excited to see how this ban might further change the way changes advertising and can’t help but wonder, are these kinds of restrictions possible here in the U.S?

Bravo to Britain for taking a stand against negative body image advertising to women and girls.

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