Mascara advertising has often gone under the microscope in recent years for claims that could not be substantiated and unrealistic imagery used; and this time P&G were the culprits despite providing supporting evidence.
The National Advertising Division was called into action after questions were raised over claims that the Covergirl ‘Clump Crusher’ mascara could boost lash volume, with certain ad images were highlighted as unrealistic.
The advertising at issue featured the picture of a model whose eyelash volume had been increased through the use of lash inserts before being coated in Clump Crusher mascara, with a small disclaimer at the bottom of the page that stated “lashes styled with lash inserts.”
NAD accepted the evidence P&G provided to support its claims, however, it recommended that the use of artificial lash enhancements in images that make quantified performance claims is discontinued; a decision that P&G accepted.
The issue at hand is that the volume consumers see in the ad images is not from the mascara alone and is artificially enhanced by the addition of false lashes – lash inserts can be used but must be clearly referred to in the ad’s main message.
Keeping with consistency in previous cases, NAD determines that when an advertiser makes a quantified performance claim, but then artificially enhances the picture of the model’s lashes either digitally or physically, the picture serves as a false product demonstration.
“Although P&G provided a reasonable basis for the express clam that CC Mascara would increase the volume of consumers’ lashes, it is well-established that visual product demonstrations in advertisements must be truthful and accurate and cannot be artificially enhanced,” says the NAD statement.
In response, P&G said that NAD’s recommendations regarding the use of lash inserts were reasonable.
It is understood that the cosmetics industry may continue to use lash inserts in mascara advertising featuring performance claims, provided their use is disclosed as part of the main message of the advertising; a point that P&G says it will take into account in the future.
The final word from NAD is that P&G either discontinue the use of artificial lash enhancements in its mascara ads or flag up their use in the main message of the ad, stating the result is achieved through a combination of the product and the inserts.