Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Preferential lighting rendered ad misleading, rules ASA

Out-Law News | 05 Nov 2009 | 10:28 am | 1 min. read

An advertiser broke the rules when it used better lighting, posing and colours in the 'before' than the 'after' pictures in a cosmetics ad, regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has said. 

Sanofi-Aventis created the advert for its inject-able facial product Sculptra, which it claimed would make a person look younger.

The advert stated that the photographs "have not been retouched" and the ASA did not say that they had, but they did say that other techniques used to make the model look better in the 'after' picture broke its rules on truthfulness.

The company told the ASA that it "believed the photos were representative and provided additional results and photos showing the effects of Sculptra on patients, along with patient and doctor consent," the ASA said.

The claims for the treatment included that "Sculptra stimulates your natural collagen production to help smooth lines and wrinkles, and restores facial contours, helping you to look younger naturally for up to 2 years after treatment".

The ASA said that the clearly different photography methods used for the 'after' photos were likely to make it difficult for consumers to assess the truthfulness of the claims.

"We noted that the Before and After photos used different lighting and colour casts and that the photos were reproduced at different sizes," said the ASA ruling. "We also noted that the models expression and make up was slightly different in each shot."

"We considered that changing the lighting, light angle, colour or framing could have a significant effect on the appearance of the model," it said. "We acknowledged that the model might be considered to look younger in the After shot, but considered that the differences in the way the photos were produced could misrepresent the effects of the treatment and concluded that the images were misleading."

The ASA said that the advert broke its rules on truthfulness, substantiation and health and beauty products.