Do you think that's what Julia Roberts' face actually looks like? Well, you're not alone. The United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority recently banned a L'Oreal makeup ad (above) claiming it contained content that was 'misleading' and potentially harmful to women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one.
The ad — featuring Roberts' seemingly pore-less skin, first came into question due to the outrage of Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson, who said that L'Oreal's adverts were "not representative of the results the products could achieve."
While re-touching and airbrushing techniques are standard practice in make-up ads, the Advertising Standards Authority (which sounds like a group of suit-clad superheroes) upholds the practice that all cosmetic ads must provide proof of the amount of touch-up work done to sustain a degree of honesty in advertisements. As L'Oreal was unable to provide the ASA with proof concerning the degree in which airbrushing played a role in Roberts' luminous skin, the ASA killed the ad, saying that it was potentially harmful to the self-esteem of teenagers… since few teenagers could achieve the same facial texture as Roberts without the aid of a sandblaster.
Now, I'm not sure which is more surprising: that the U.K. has an organization that seems to care about the negative effects media has on its people, or that the ASA actually seems to believe that there was once a time when advertisements weren't inherently misleading or false. While I don't foresee the U.S. applying this model to our own advertisements any time soon, it's a good reminder that ads are full of shit. Sure, the guy holding a Corona may look like he's having a good time surrounded by all those models tugging at his jeans… but he's probably not that tall.