Posted by Daniel on July 25, 2007
After a hiatus induced by lots of moving around, I’m now back to blog once again.
The ASA has slapped the pert-and-pretty face of L’Oreal for faking the results of their mascara in a recent advert featuring the pert-and-pretty Penelope Cruz. Whilst the claim of making eyelashes appear up to 60% longer, as claimed by their advert, is ‘proven’ in their own consumer tests… Cruz was wearing false eyelashes whilst appearing in her latest adverts (print and television) for the make-up firm.
According to the Advertising Standards Authority’s investigation into the advert, “We noted from the lengthening study that 75% of subjects had a 60% increase or more in the visible length of their lashes when measured using digital imagery,” and that the Authority: “…noted L’Oreal’s belief that up to 60% longer lashes could be achieved irrespective of whether lashes were real or artificial.”
The national freesheet Metro quotes L’Oreal as responding with the time-honoured ‘no really, they do work, but just not when you want to film an advert’. They said: “It is common industry practice to make use of some artificial lashes in order to ensure a consistent lash line under filming or shooting conditions – the ASA had previously accepted on more than one occasion that this industry practice was not misleading.” L’Oreal confusingly sees it fit to accuse the ASA of being inconsistant.
Being the manly man that I am, I’m not make-up expert but I don’t see the point in buying fake lashes, just to make them look longer with mascara? Surely you’d just buy long lashes in the first place. Even with real eye lashes, the fact that the guinea pigs needed ‘digital imagery’ to notice the increase in visible length is quite worrying. How about we magnify your face a thousand times and put it on the side of a building – doesn’t it look much larger? The same applies in this case, I believe, unless those men you expect to be attracting with that mascara carry pocket ‘digital imaging’ devices around with them.
This does raise some more important questions, however. The very idea of make-up adverts featuring very beautiful women stating they sourced their looks from L’Oreal and other brands is quite misleading in itself. Who would hire an 18-year-old to advertise anti-ageing cream? But yet, hire any actor with naturally young looks whatever their age, and suddenly you find them attributing their beauty to a product which has only been released moments before the advert was output. It’s vulgar but true: you can’t polish a turd – but make-up adverts in their very essence set out to convince consumers that, whoever you are, you can magically look as beautiful as Penelope Cruz just with a dash of their product.
Or you could just fake it yourself, as this advert seems to prove.
P.S. Many apologies for the probably overused headline. It was just too tempting!
Posted in Advertising, ASA, L'Oreal, mascara, Penelope Cruz, Print, Television | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Daniel on May 23, 2007
The search for Madeleine McCann goes on and, unfortunately, so does the media coverage. Whilst I’m sure we can all agree that the media can be used effectively in order to find a missing person, there is a sense of going overboard in this case.
Take a few cute photos, a shocking ‘snatched from her bed’ plot-line and two humble, loving parents in grief and you have the recipe for a media orgy, all falling over each other to catch on to what little information can be garnered from this event. Despite the fact of thousands of British children missing, politicians walk round with a yellow ribbon adorning their sweaty jackets ‘for Madeleine’ along with The Sun, dressing their website’s masthead for all to see and generally slapping every half-baked story about her on the front page.
Naturally, it’s not a point on its own to simply say “there are thousands of people missing, why is she so special?” because it’s obvious why. It makes a great story and I agree, it should certainly be in the news as it does have a high news value. However, there comes a point where the newsers turn to users.
As BBC’s Newswatch reports (yes, I am aware it’s the Daily Mail of news criticism), there have been as many as 5 live reports from Portugal within an hour of BBC News 24 and all with different reporters. ITN has been even worse with their wall-to-wall coverage and, in my mind, ITV news is about as tabloid as TV news gets, making them as bad as The Sun in my opinion. Lots and lots of reporting… yet no developments. The nature news media dictates that celebrities must also get involved in order to raise their profile and so consequently there’s been an auction for the person who can donate the most to the reward for finding her, with media attention sold to the highest bidder. Incidentally, the reward fund now stands at £2.6 million and I’m sure the National Missing Persons Helpline can only dream of raising such a large amount of money so quickly.
After the news coverage, the celebrities and the donations come the moral public reaction. Not only have there been websites, blogs and other general online ‘help’ as well as the much-reported offline support too. Cycling along Sunderland’s high street today I even saw a poster asking us to report any sightings of her, stuck to a phone box.
Put simply, there is nothing more special about this little 4-year-old girl than there is with any other British child. The family are certainly lucky to get this media attention and would be fools not to use it – and the media are right to report it. However, now that her face is out there and everyone knows what she looks like and what happened to her, the reporting should slow down to a trickle until there is actually something new to report.
It must be considered though, that this is news and newspapers thrive on it, obviously. So wouldn’t they be stupid not to capitalise on this? Your comments are much appreciated.
Posted in BBC, ITV, Journalism, Madeleine McCann, Print, Radio, Television | 1 Comment »
Posted by Daniel on May 16, 2007
The NHS has recently had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for a series of adverts depicting people being caught by a fish hook and being dragged to the shops for a packet of cigarettes. The campaign’s complaints mainly centred around its poster and TV output. With 774 complaints, this is already the ‘most offensive’ advert in the past few years.
This seems like utter blindness on the side of the Department of Health. Whilst I understand these adverts are meant to shock, how can an advert continue to shock people if it gets banned by the ASA? Having people being violently dragged around by a hook in their mouth is not something most kids and even adults want to see as part of their day’s entertainment.
There are times when shocking ads slip through the net and simple usual ads get swept up in the hysteria of the Mary Whitehouses out there. One example is the KFC commercial of a couple of years ago, the most complained about ad of its year… because of call centre staff eating whilst singing. It was complained about 1,671 times because it encouraged children to talk whilst eating. Thank goodness the ASA has sense (sometimes) and didn’t ban the advert.
The issue here is the fine line between controversy and insanity. How did the DoH think they could get away with adverts which even depict mild violence? Did they talk the old ‘if they can run a woman over with a table in a pub, then we can drag people around with fish hooks’? Education is good enough in this country that everyone knows smoking is bad for them and if they want to give up, then they will. An advert with the phone number and website is enough to make people aware there is help out there.
Modern advertising is a complex market, with fractured audiences and so many different media to advertise on. Shock adverts are there to stand out from the crowd but, as I mentioned, getting your advert banned doesn’t help your promotion.
Thanks to everyone who responded to the previous post, I hope you’re aboard as regular readers now. If there’s anything you’re infuriated by or agree with, please post a comment.
Posted in Advertising, Print, Regulation, Television | Leave a Comment »