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Advertising body rules in L'Oreal's favor despite complaints from rival

By Michelle Yeomans+

20-Mar-2013

The National Advertising Division has determined that the US subsidiary of L’Oreal has acted properly in working toward the discontinuance of certain in-store advertising, after a competing mascara maker complained about advertising.

The advertising in question was challenged before the regulatory body by P&G, who took issue with advertisements featuring visuals of model’s lashes and product performance claims related to eyelash length and volume.

P&G asserted that the visuals were identical to those that appeared in Canada and the UK, together with a disclosure that stated “Lashes were enhanced in post-production."

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Ruled in L'Oreal's favor

The in-store advertising at issue featured the same visuals as the print and broadcast ads, and, in certain instances, contained product performance claims.

In this instance, NAD noted its appreciation for the advertiser’s voluntary undertaking to permanently discontinue the advertisements, action it deemed necessary and proper and cited a prior decision regarding mascara advertising that held P&G product demonstrations must be truthful and accurate and cannot be enhanced.

L’Oreal, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company; “supports industry self-regulation and appreciates NAD's consideration of this matter. Although we disagree with the challenger's characterization of our advertising, we did not file a response on the merits because, as noted in NAD's decision, most of the advertising no longer was in use when the challenge was filed except for a few items that we already were in the process of updating."

Thus, in this instance the regulatory body administratively closed the inquiry with regard to print and broadcast advertising because it lacks jurisdiction over claims that have been permanently discontinued prior to the commencement of an inquiry.

Not the first issue with mascara advertising for the company

Back in 2011, L’Oréal was embroiled in an advertising investigation in the UK over its Lancôme mascara.

The complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by a member of the public, as well as Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson over magazine and press ads for its Lancôme mascara, featuring models showing off the doll lash effect, as misleading because they exaggerated the effect of the product beyond what the ordinary consumer could achieve.

L'Oréal UK responded at the time, saying the image used was of styled and professionally photographed models, and that they had tried to ensure it did not exaggerate the effect, to which the ASA sided with the cosmetics firm acknowledging that consumers expected images used in ads for beauty products to have used professional.

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