27 July 2011

Truth in beauty advertising: because we’re worth it

Image from withdrawn Lancome ad, from The Guardian site
I wasn’t surprised to hear the news that two big beauty houses have been forced to pull ads in the UK, when the advertising watchdog agreed with Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson that they were overly airbrushed.

Lancome have been instructed to pull their Teint Miracle campaign (see above), while Maybelline have withdrawn ‘The Eraser’ campaign featuring Christy Turlington.

Of course, Lancome and Maybelline - both owned by L’Oreal – are far from the only brands engaging in this type of practice. From haircare ads where extensions have been used to mascara campaigns featuring false lashes, the overuse of digital enhancement is rife in the beauty industry.
We’ve long known not to believe what we see on the page or the screen. We’ve become more cynical about what we’re told by the beauty brands, which is why word of mouth and personal recommendations are so valuable. (And, I believe, why beauty blogs have such an important part to play.)
But that’s not to say we’re not affected by these advertising messages. Impossible standards of beauty create and exploit insecurities and make women and girls feel bad for not looking like the airbrushed models and celebrities in the ad campaigns.
Jo Swinson is quoted as saying:  
“Excessive airbrushing and digital manipulation techniques have become the norm, but both Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts are naturally beautiful women who don't need retouching to look great.
This ban sends a powerful message to advertisers - let's get back to reality."
It’s high time for the beauty industry to ditch excessive post production and feature more honest imagery in their ad campaigns.
Because, surely now, we’re worth it.  

17 comments:

Lilac Fashion said...

All this brushing is ridiculous... would be much easier if they didnt use it...

Sonya Goulding said...

Great post Emma! I'm behind this one all the way!

Rosemary said...

It's a really interesting debate - Stellar magazine recently ran a "naked women" spread using "real" women (a term I hate as we're all real, size 0 or no) to show how beautiful they are, yet airbrushed the shit out of them. Weird message.

Anyway the amazing part of that Guardian story is that Julia Roberts has it IN HER CONTRACT WITH LANCOME that nobody can see the unairbrushed pics, NOT EVEN THE ADVERTISING REGULATOR! NUTS. I hate her now, which is a pity, as I always thought she seemed quite cool.

fluff and fripperies said...

Thanks guys, yep, an interesting debate and Rosemary, now I'm imagining that Julia has all sorts of secret disfigurements that she wants to keep out of the public eye. I mean how bad could those photos - by Mario Testino, of all people - and with a full hair and make up crew and kind lighting - possible be?! And what chance do us mere mortals have of ever being snapped in a flattering photo down the pub?!?

Roxy said...

Great post and yes, we deserve more truthful representations of women in ad campaigns, fo' sho'

Anonymous said...

THE TRUTH?

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!!!!

Jo said...

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty"?

Joanne Hegarty said...

Thanks so much Emma and for your lovely comments while I was away. We had a great time, can't believe it's all over. But it is not bad being back either. Love your post today.
Joanne
http://www.balletpumpsandroses.com

Sarah Lanagan said...

I definitely agree and that's why it was refreshing when Make Up Forever released their non-airbrushed campaign this year! Working as a make-up artist I find that a lot of photographers are way too heavy handed with post production, I mean - if you and your products are doing a good enough job there shouldn't be any need to go "fixing" things right?

rebecca said...

I love this post. I have to wonder if eating disorders and plastic surgeries would be surging as they are if it weren't for extreme photoshopping.

Anonymous said...

Miss Lanagan makes a valid point above, great post x

Karen said...

Great post, more companies should follow Make Up For Ever in publishing photos that haven't been airbrushed. we will respect them more for it and is that true re Julia Roberts not letting anyone see the unairbrushed photos?!

Deryck said...

I'm with ya on this one. It's like selling a Ferrari that actually looks like a Fiesta, not that I have anything against Fiestas, my 1st car was a fiesta... well actually it was my girlfriend's car, BUT ANYWAY, no to airbrushing and falsifying ads.

that's life! said...

Glad *somebody's* standing up for young women. You'd think the post-feminism generation would be past all this, wouldn't ya? But noooooo! Thumbs up to Jo Swinson for having a set, and kudos to you, Emma, this post rates a +1 from me!

Sara K said...

Here bloody here! Bloody ridiculous to have got away with it so long.

and I can't believe the comments on Julia. I always assumed she was ridiculously cool and with smiley eyes and teeth like hers? grow old gracefully girl!!

fluff and fripperies said...

Cheers guys, let's hope this really does send a message to the big beauty brands and herald in a new age of truth in advertising. Forgive me for being a little cynical though...

airbrush classes said...

As the old saying goes, "too much of anything is bad". Airbrushing is definitely no exception. Overdoing it just gives people too much of an artificial look.