Truth Be Sold

A little while ago I wrote an article for Cellardoor Magazine about Beauty Advertisements.
This is something that i have always felt really strongly about and think that a lot of other people do too.
I would love for you to take a few minutes to read this article and let me know your thoughts about it and if you wouldn't mind taking part in my Adverting in the Beauty Industry survey too (Link can be found on this post or at the left-hand side top corner of this blog) that would be very much appreciated.
Hopefully then if enough people fill out my survey/leave comments on this post then we might be able to get an accurate picture of what we, the consumers actually think about this subject and then we will hopefully be able to try and help change certain things about the way we are being sold beauty products!

                                                  (Some Examples of 'POSSIBLE' Doctored Images)

Turn on the TV at any given time of day and there she is staring back at you explaining how her big volumised hair got its ‘MOJO’ back. Yes I’m talking about Miss Cheryl Cole. How did she get her ‘MOJO’ back I hear you cry, well she claims it was from using the L’Oreal shampoo that she is brandishing about in the advert but on closer inspection, although blink and you will miss it, if you look at the left hand corner of the screen, you will see that in actual fact her ‘MOJO’ is not just courtesy of the shampoo she is advertising it is also helped by the ad being "styled with some natural hair extensions." So, why are beauty brands using all this fakery in their campaigns?

And worse still, why are some of them still not owning up to doing it?

 It feels like beauty advertisements whether they be in glossy magazines or on TV are getting more and more unrealistic as the years go by. They are selling an unattainable image to us the consumers. No matter how much you use of the mascara, foundation, lipstick or whatever product they are advertising, you will never look like the digitally enhanced image of the model or celebrity that appears on the ads.

A recent survey by The Sun newspaper found out that 28 percent of beauty adverts in Magazines admitted in tiny print that their ad’s had been enhanced. Although another 44 percent of ads which seemed to have been altered in some way did not have a disclaimer on their adverts and did not admit to any adjustments

It is thought that only 28 percent of beauty adverts show the products accurately.
Unsurprisingly mascara adverts were proved to be the worst offenders with a massive 58 per cent admitting that they had airbrushed the lashes to look longer and 42 per cent said they used artificial lashes. Shampoo adverts like the aforementioned L’Oreal one is among the 23 percent that use models with artificial hair extensions

The message this sends to me is that the brands making these adverts must not have enough belief in the products they are selling so they feel they have to resort to trickery and false effects.

Although as a regular customer of many major brands, some I’m guessing who were included in this survey; I find this message hard to believe because some products I have tried actually do what they say on their tagline. Albeit to make your lashes longer your lips plumper or your skin brighter, as crazy as it sounds some really do work. Yes, the effects vary from person to person but the bottom line is to some degree a lot of these products do their job and in some cases do it really well. This is the bit that baffles me the most why are brands not proud enough of this to show customers their products in action on their adverts.

It is unfortunate that we can no longer trust advertisers to sell us the truth. The frustrating thing is some of these companies seem to think that what they are doing is not wrong.

When L’Oreal was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about their TV and magazine adverts for misleading consumers with their Telescopic mascara staring Penelope Cruz , it was discovered that Penelope was in actual fact wearing some false lashes as well as the mascara, something which the ad’s had not stated. The L’Oreal spokesperson responded by saying

"It is common industry practice to make use of some artificial lashes in order to ensure a consistent lash line under filming or shooting conditions - the ASA had previously accepted on more than one occasion that this industry practice was not misleading."

Although L’Oreal was then ordered to place a disclaimer on all future Telescopic ad’s, there was no apology for misleading their own customers, only a toned response trying to excuse the fact or give reason, depending on which way you look at it, for why they couldn’t rely on their mascara to have the desired effect its adverts claim it can.

There was a very similar case with Rimmel in which after some members of the public complained about the ads, the ASA investigated their "Magnif'eyes mascara" that Kate Moss advertised in their campaigns, J Walter Thompson, who is the advertising agency for Rimmel’s campaign, told the ASA that Miss Moss’s eyelashes were "cleaned up and enhanced" in post-production but did not explain the extent to which their appearance had been changed.
It insisted that Kate Moss did not wear false lashes at the shoot but supplied no evidence to support its denial
Because the ASA felt that false lashes may have been used and Rimmel’s customers had been mislead they took the step of banning the advert until the company added a disclaimer to the whole campaign.

Is getting their wrists slapped and being made to put a disclaimer on some of their ads really enough to get these massive brands to stop mis-leading their customers?

There are a few exceptions to the rule. Dove launched their famous ‘Real Beauty Campaign’ in 2004 which saw real women not airbrushed or retouched using their products in ad campaigns and TV commercials. Body beauty brand Mama Mio has also recently launched their first ever fully unretouched advert featuring a 42 year old model as she truly is. Although I’m sure there are many other brands who also advertise their products without the use of enhancements but it just isn’t enough.

Beauty brands have to look and see what their customers are telling them. We are not stupid or gullible enough to believe that their adverts haven’t been altered. But it is hard for some of us not to compare ourselves to these unrealistic images. Especially for young people, there is enough demand on them to look a certain way at a certain age; they do not need the added bonus of wondering why the foundation they have just bought does not make their skin look like the model on the advert.

Although beauty companies have to project a type of fantasy image to entice customers whether it be using the hottest model or the number one singer in the country in their ad’s, it just doesn’t make sense to make their product be the ‘fantasy’ part of the advert.

Beauty brands have to make a change. We all know now that the majority of these adverts aren’t real, whether it’s because it has a disclaimer basically telling you what is fake about the advert or because it is just so blatantly obvious to the naked eye that the image has been tampered with. All that this is doing is showing us that they do not have enough respect for the people who are keeping them in business to actually not mislead them about what they are selling them.

So how do we do it, how do we make them change their minds about their adverts, the only solution I see is to tell them how we feel. We the consumers, have to let them know if their fake ads are putting us off buying their products, if them not owning up to what is real and what is fake in their adverts makes us annoyed. Has seeing that unattainable image made us feel bad about the way we look? If they know exactly how we feel then it is in their hands to change it

I am asking you all to take part in my survey to be as truthful and honest as possible you don’t even have to tell me your name if you don’t want to, all you have to do is fill it in and tell me how these ads make you, the people who buy the products really feel.

With your answers in hand we will then have a very clear picture of what you, the public really think of the ads, is it all media outrage do they not affect us as much as we all think or have you actually starting to boycott brands that mislead you. I want to know.

Hopefully after hearing what their own customers have to say some brands will have the courage to make an advert without using enhancements and be proud enough of the product they are asking you to pay money for. If we can make even one company change the way they make their advert then I think we can claim a small victory for real beauty.

So please click this link to go straight to my Survey on false advertising in the beauty industry. You can follow the campaigns progress and find out the verdict from the survey on my Blog
Is This Real Life?

If you feel as strongly about this as i do them please pass on the link to this post to as many people you know, help spread the word and get as many people as possible to fill out my survey and leave comments!
Thank You.

Sources used-

-The Sun Newspaper article ‘Beauty Is Spin Deep’ By JANE HAMILTON, Consumer Editor

Published: 29 Mar 2010

-Advertising Standards Authority Online

-The – ‘Kate Moss mascara advert was misleading, ASA rules’ By Martin Hickman

Published: Wednesday, 3 October 2007


Butterflied said...

I'm your follower number 200!!!
Lovely blog.

lo said...

hey new follower :)
amazing post, i HATE when make up brands do this, i never know what products i can trust :( xx

Kat said...

Have just completed your survey! Totally agree with you, it really annoys me when they put in tiny text 'enhanced by ....' for 2 seconds! They need to make it more prominent- or even better, just stop doctering images!

Great article :)


Alyssa said...

Hey girl! Glad you're addressing this issue.. it really is riduculous.
I'm doing independent social research through my school right now. I'm focusing on smoke-free policy on college campuses. So you will not see cigarettes on my blog!
For your cause.. it isn't a big deal but I rarely retouch my own outfit posts anymore. I used to get really into brushing all my blemishes away and even changing the contours to hide "problem areas" (hips, thighs, etc).
Btw, I clicked the link to take your survey and it seemed to go to the end page.