TINA.org's states its mission is to highlight false advertising and deceptive marketing through education, advocacy, investigative journalism, and the promotion of truth in advertising.
CosmeticsDesign.com USA sits down with Executive Director Bonnie Patten, Director of Marketing and Communications Shana Mueller, and Project Associate Orawan Gardner, to discuss beauty advertising and immediately pointed to the big differences between the U.S. and Europe when it comes to regulation.
EU and U.S. differ
“In the U.S. we use the first amendment to defend certain claims,” Patten tells CosmeticsDesign.com USA. “If you take the ASA in the UK as an example, they look into every claim and the government is involved.”
“In the U.S. we have the NAD which has an agreement with the FTC but as a self-regulatory system and without as much pressure to regulate the systems aren’t as strict,” adds the attorney.
Mueller adds that there seems to be greater influence coming from the Advertising Standards Authority with regards to cosmetics claims regulation and this will lead to more complaints being filed.
“There are a number of claims that are now being scrutinized,” she says. “From formaldehyde-free to anti-cellulite, a lot of ingredient claims are now going under the microscope.”
The trio touch upon skin creams that make bold claims that they can cure cellulite as one of the focal points of their work in the cosmetics sector right now.
“A lot of brands see what they can get away with in their advertising,” continues Patten. “There is not as much emphasis and scrutiny placed on cosmetics claims, maybe because we expect flawless images in beauty advertising.”
“But the truth is it can damage and lead to a false economy as people are buying products based on these claims, which are sometimes not substantiated.”
In order to combat deceptive claims, the TINA.org team suggest the change has to come from the consumer.
“People need to stop buying and the guilty brands should be named and shamed,” says Patten. “The loss of reputation should then take effect.”
TINA.org is a relatively young company but has already built up a reputation for preventing deceptive business practices, with its first successful legal complaint in March this year.