July 28, 2011

UK Bans Make-Up Ads

In my blog of June 9, 2011, I wrote about ideal beauty in advertising, and how when you see a picture of most models, they are pictures of the ideal beauty-completely flawless. I had cited Jean Kilbourne’s video as to how advertising shapes our world; creating our concepts, and our vision of beauty.  Flawless will exist in our new age of photo-shopped pictures, but it doesn’t exist in reality.

In a move announced yesterday, make-up advertisements featuring actor Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington have been banned in the UK because of their controversial use of ‘airbrushing’. Britain’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) issued the ban after politician Jo Swinson complained about the two ads, for foundation products made by L’Oreal’s Maybelline and Lancôme brands.  The ASA was not even allowed to see the original versions of the photographs. “It shows just how ridiculous things have become when there is such fear over an un-airbrushed photo that even the advertising regulator isn’t permitted to see it, “said Swinson.

The Scottish MP welcomed the ban, and said it should act as a wake-up call to advertisers, urging them to “get back to reality.” Pictures of flawless skin and super-slim bodies are all around, but they don’t reflect reality,” she said. “With one in four people feeling depressed about their body, it’s time to consider how these idealised images are distorting our idea of beauty. Excessive airbrushing and digital manipulation techniques have become the norm, but both Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts are naturally beautiful women who don’t need retouching to look great.”

How do you feel about the UK ban? Should there be more realistic pictures in our advertising? I’d love to know how your thoughts…..

To see more on the UK ban see


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