Cosmetics Companies May Be Forced To Stop Lying To Us With Photoshopped Ads

Recently, CoverGirl cosmetics ran an ad for mascara that featured pictorial proof that their mascara was capable of transforming women's eyelashes from anemic to voluptuous. Except the pictorial proof of the makeup's effectiveness was actually just a photoshopped image that sort of represented what the company wanted you to think the makeup could do. CoverGirl willingly pulled the ad after deeming it misleading, and an industry watchdog group applauded the move. Could this be the beginning of the end for hyper airbrushed makeup ads?

At issue was an ad for NatureLuxe Mousse mascara, which was both ridiculously named and ridiculously advertised. CoverGirl featured Taylor Swift as its model for most of the NatureLuxe line, and according to CoverGirl parent company Proctor & Gamble, the ad was subjected to "enhanced post-production," and "photoshopping." In other words, the picture of Tay Swift's big, gorgeous, princess lashes? Not so much mascara generated as computer generated. (If you click to enlarge the images below, you can see fine print which reads, "lashes enhanced in post" and "lashes enhanced in post-production.")


After pulling the ad, The National Advertising Division (NAD) ruled that P&G had acted appropriately. Its ruling stated,

… [P&G] advised NAD it has permanently discontinued all of the challenged claims and the photograph in its advertisement. NAD was particularly troubled by the photograph of the model – which serves clearly to demonstrate (i.e., let consumers see for themselves) the length and volume they can achieve when they apply the advertised mascara to their eyelashes. This picture is accompanied by a disclosure that the model's eyelashes had been enhanced post production.

This is significant because where goes the NAD, so goes the rest of the advertising agency; the watchdog group and the Federal Trade Commission are closely aligned. If NAD demands a company pull an ad and the company fails to comply, the case can be elevated to the FTC, which has the power to levy fines, and no one wants that.


Photoshopped cosmetics ads are already banned in Europe, and advertising regulators there mean business. Ads featuring Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts were forcibly shelved in the UK due to extreme adventures in photoshop. Insiders speculate that this could be another small step toward complete elimination of misleading photoshop in American ads for cosmetics, which means that someday soon, we may recognize Drew Barrymore's face again.

US Moves Toward Banning Photoshop In Cosmetics Ads [Business Insider]

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