Face value

by Stratton Craig

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Last month saw two L’Oreal ads banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for using digitally altered photographs deemed as ‘misleading’. This could be the start of something big for industries like fashion and beauty. And by ‘something big’ we mean a shift away from their heavy reliance on imagery, and towards more consideration of their written communications.

MP Jo Swinson has been campaigning since 2009 for airbrushed perfection to be curbed, and lodged complaints against the ads with the ASA which eventually led to the ruling. We think it’s great news.

As much as we like the majority of beauty brands (‘Because we’re worth it’ is certainly standing the test of time), we agree with the measures being taken to regulate imagery and we want to see more of this. After all, procedures are well and truly in place to regulate companies’ written communications, so why not the images?!

Take the recent news about Lloyds TSB, for example – the Group was pushed into loss by the compensation they had to pay their customers for mis-selling a product. Mis-selling is a matter that’s taken very seriously in the majority of industries and we’re pleased to see the tables are now turning on the cosmetics industry too.

The majority of make-up/cosmetics ads are emblazoned with a huge, always beautiful image and very little copywriting, which can arguably be described as uninspiring. It’s the image that wins the audience over. Perhaps the L’Oreal bans will steer brands towards a more balanced approach.

We think the critically acclaimed Dove campaign is a great example of a brand pioneering the healthy balance between an authentic image and compelling written communications.

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