A Christian Dior mascara ad featuring Natalie Portman has been banned in the U.K. following a complaint from rival L'Oréal.
L'Oréal complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the print ad "misleadingly exaggerated" the likely effects of the product. The glossy magazine campaign showed a picture of actress Natalie Portman with impossibly long eyelashes next to the headline, "Diorshow New Look" and text that read, "Lash-multiplying effect volume and care mascara. ... It delivers spectacular volume-multiplying effect, lash by lash."
In its defense, Parfums Christian Dior said that no members of the public had complained about the ad. The company also claimed that , as a significant number of women wear false eyelashes regularly, the image in the ad did not go beyond consumer expectations of what was achievable during a normal beauty routine.
Dior admitted that Ms. Portman's natural lashes were lengthened digitally in post-production, but pointed out that the ad's text did not contain any claims regarding the lengthening of lashes. The ASA, however, did not buy Dior's excuses, and said it had not seen evidence that the mascara in question could produce the effects seen on Natalie Portman's lashes. The ad was declared misleading, lacking substantiation and guilty of exaggeration, and it cannot run again.
L'Oréal won this round, but the French beauty brand is itself no stranger to the ASA's condemnation. Among L'Oréal's own transgressions: in February its ad featuring actress Rachel Weisz was judged to have exaggerated the performance of Revitalift anti-wrinkle cream, and a year ago it had to pull ad campaigns for a foundation featuring actress Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington because they were ruled overly airbrushed.