British watchdog lashes out at L'Oreal for mascara ad

LONDON, July 25, 2007 (AFP) - Britain's advertising watchdog on Wednesday rapped cosmetics firm L'Oreal for a misleading television advert for mascara with Hollywood actress Penelope Cruz.

Penelope Cruz dans les campagnes publicitaires
L'Oréal Telescopic et L'Oréal telescopic Clean Definition

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the company misled viewers by claiming its "telescopic" mascara product made eyelashes "up to 60 percent longer" when Cruz was in fact wearing some false lashes on screen.

That exaggerated the effect of the product on natural lashes, it added.

"We concluded that, in the absence of a disclaimer stating that Penelope Cruz was wearing some individual false lashes added to her natural lashes, and because the ad did not make clear that the claim referred to an increase in the 'appearance' of lash length, the ads could mislead," the body said.

ASA ordered L'Oreal to make a disclaimer in future ads featuring models with false eyelashes and make clear that "up to 60 percent longer" refers to the appearance of eyelashes and not to their actual length.

In response, L'Oreal said it was "common industry practice" to use some artificial lashes to ensure a "consistent lash line" during filming.

"L'Oreal will obviously, for its future advertising campaigns, fully comply with the ASA's new requirements," it added.

In June French cosmetics company Garnier, part of the L'Oreal group, and temporary employment giant Adecco were acquitted of applying racist criteria to hostess employment contracts.

A court in Paris threw out charges that Garnier, Adecco and Adecco subsidiary Districom had discriminated "based on origin, nationality or ethnic background" in a case brought by rights group SOS Racism.

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