An advert for Rimmel mascara featuring Cara Delevingne has been banned for deceiving consumers by exaggerating the thickness and length of her eyelashes. In the TV ad campaign, for the brand’s Scandaleyes Reloaded mascara, the model and actor is shown applying the product to a seriously thick-looking set of lashes. Viewers are promised "dangerously bold lashes" with "extreme volume... extreme wear" when they wear the mascara.
But Rimmel has been forced to pull the ad in its current form after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry watchdog, ruled that it exaggerated the impact of the product and was therefore misleading.
Rimmel wasn’t open about the fact that Delevingne was wearing individual lash inserts, or that some lashes were redrawn in post-production.
"Because the ad conveyed a volumising, lengthening and thickening effect of the product we considered the use of lash inserts and the post-production technique were likely to exaggerate the effect beyond what could be achieved by the product among consumers,” it said. "We therefore concluded the ad was misleading."
But Coty UK, which owns Rimmel, defended the ad, saying its representation of the product was accurate. It said Delevingne’s lashes were naturally “full and long”, but the ASA disagreed after examining before and after photos.
Coty UK also said the individual lash inserts were only used “to fill in gaps and to create a uniform lash line", which was standard practice in the industry, and that some lashes were redrawn in post-production to make them more visible against her dark eyeshadow.
The company said it regrets the ASA’s decision but will “comply with the ruling and not air the TV commercial again in this state.”
This is by no means the first beauty ad to have been banned for misrepresenting the effects of a product. The ASA has taken a harder line against them in recent years thanks to a campaign led by the Liberal Democrat and former MP Jo Swinson, who complained about two L'Oréal ad campaigns (featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington), which ended up being pulled.