Mascara ads showing Kate Moss sporting “traffic stopping” eyelashes have been banned after complaints that the supermodel’s lashes were false.
The magazine and TV ads for Rimmel said that the ‘Magnif’eyes mascara’ produced 70 per cent more lift, with a ‘unique vertical life brush’ helping wearers ‘get the London look’.
Moss features in both the magazine ad and the TV commercial - but two viewers complained that they did not believe her eyelashes were genuine and that the ads exaggerated the effect of the mascara.
Ad firm J Walter Thompson (JWT) insisted that Moss was not wearing false eyelashes, but did not provide documentary evidence to back it up. The firm admitted the lashes were enhanced after the shoot.
The Advertising Standards Authority investigated complaints that the lashes were false and also challenged whether Rimmel could back up their claim that the mascara provided 70 per cent more lift.
Rimmel said it had developed existing brush technology by creating a mascara brush that provided greater lash lift and claimed it had tested the claim of 70 per cent more lash lift on ten female panellists.
It provided a table and a sample before and after shot, claiming the results showed the average increase in lash lift from roof to tip was 74.7 per cent.
The Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) said they were satisfied that the demonstration sequences were an accurate reflection of the capabilities of the product and supported the claims made in the TV ad.
However, the ASA concluded that it could not be proved the lashes weren’t false - and ordered the company not to repeat the claims. It also found the 70 per cent claim could be misleading.
A spokesman said: “The ASA was concerned that Rimmel had failed to provide evidence that confirmed Kate Moss was not wearing false lashes.
“We were also concerned that JWT said they had retouched the lashes in post production, but had not provided data that clarified the extent to which that had altered the appearance of the lashes.
“Because we had not received documentary evidence that Kate Moss was not wearing false lashes in the ads we concluded that the images of the eye lashes in the press and TV ads may have exaggerated the benefits of the product, and were likely to mislead consumers.
“The ASA acknowledged the evidence submitted by Rimmel to support their claims ‘70% more vertical lashes’ in the press ad and ‘70% more lash lift’ in the TV ad.
“We noted that the measurements used in the test were taken from digital images of the eye before and after the mascara was applied, and were not taken from the actual lashes themselves.
“We considered that some consumers could interpret the claim to refer to an increase in actual lash length, rather than the length of the lashes as it appeared in the digital images.
“Because the claim ‘70% more lash lift’ referred to an increase in the appearance of the lash length, and not an actual increase, we concluded that the ad could mislead.
“We told Rimmel not to repeat the ad in its present form. We advised them to include a disclaimer in future ads where post production techniques had been used to increase the effects of a product, or where false lashes had been used.