Beauty Trends

Mascara Advertising. When is too Long too Much?


The recent uproar on Dior’s latest advertisement on its mascara advertisement, which features Black Swan actress Natalie Portman was banned by consumer watchdog in the UK for misleading consumers. But when is too long too much?

L'Oreal’s rival, who has been one of the biggest offenders in the watchdog’s crackdown on airbrushed and exaggerated beauty ads in recent years, lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority that the Dior ad "misleadingly exaggerated the likely effects of the product".

Although Dior admitted Portman had not worn false eyelashes in the photoshoot, but it had added the appearance through digital enhancement using Photoshop, to retouch the appearance by increasing the thickness and volume of a number of Portman’s natural lashes.

It has been exposed that other established cosmetic companies such as Covergirl featuring Nicole Fox and L'Oreal featuring Penelope Cruz, have been heavily criticised by using fake eyelashes as enhancement in their mascara advertisements.

But then when is too long, too much? And why is it that Dior was banned but not Covergirl and L'Oreal since technically speaking, all advertisements have took advantage of ‘enhancements’ techniques to market their mascaras?

L'Oreal, though not banned, was however instructed to include a disclaimer in future ads featuring models wearing false eyelashes and to ensure any further campaigns for the product made clear that the "up to 60%" claim referred only to the appearance of lashes.

So does it mean that by inserting such additional disclaimers, consumers would not be misled and that this does not amount to false advertising?

Unless these cosmetic companies place such disclaimers loud and clear enough on their advertisements instead of fine prints, they might still stand their grounds. But this is highly unlikely possible.

The implications of the discrepancies which are blatantly obvious might encourage companies to use false eyelashes in their mascara advertisements instead of digital enhancements, despite it still leading to false advertisements.

This, in turn, misleads consumers, which more often than not, are attracted by the visual imageries and would not pay much attention to fine prints. However, this may draw a somewhat clear but uncomfortable line between photographs enhancements, in that using digital software such as Photoshop is not acceptable but leniency is placed upon using fake eyelashes.

To me, using false lashes in mascara commercials is indeed false advertising. There is just no way their product is going to deliver the results they are claiming, and they are intentionally misleading consumers.

As fake as false eyelashes are in mascara advertising, so are extra chicken filets in a bra ad. No?