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L’Oreal’s Enhanced Julia Roberts Ad Banned by U.K. Watchdog

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority banned advertisements by L’Oreal SA’s Maybelline New York and Lancome cosmetics brands for being misleading after complaints by a member of parliament.

The print advertisements, which feature digitally enhanced images of actress Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington, didn’t accurately represent what Maybelline’s The Eraser and Lancome’s Teint Miracle foundations could achieve based on information supplied by the brands, the watchdog said today in separate statements on its website. Neither ad can appear again in its current form, the regulator said.

“Excessive airbrushing and digital manipulation techniques have become the norm,” Jo Swinson, a Liberal Democratic MP who complained to the authority about the advertisements, said today in a statement. “This ban sends a powerful message to advertisers: Let’s get back to reality.”

Swinson is co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence, a lobbying group focused on mass media’s depictions of women.

“We do not believe that the ad exaggerates the effect that can be achieved using this product,” Liz Clark, a spokeswoman for Lancome, said in an e-mail. Her comments were echoed by a Maybelline spokeswoman in a separate e-mail who asked not to be named citing company policy.

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