I think the days when we believed everything we heard and saw in advertising are as over as Brad and Jen, but that doesn't mean we should be purposefully misled. Unless of course misleading us takes us anywhere near Ryan Gosling, naked, and asking to roleplay Fifty Shades of Grey. Natalie Portman's eyelashes, however, should have just been honest with us. They didn't need to be bigger or longer -- she's already envied enough for those cheekbones and lips and the fact that she made out with both Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis (separately, on film). Fashion and makeup giant Dior, though, apparently felt her lashes needed to look longer for their Diorshow New Look lash-multiplying mascara campaign. A little Photoshop here, a little more lashes there, and the most unbelievably long eyelashes with "just mascara" were born.
Not so fast, said L'Oreal UK. They reported the ad to the Advertising Standards Agency and that's when things got really plump.
NYmag's The Cut reports that there were no complaints from consumers, but since L'Oreal sounded the alarm to the ASA, the enhanced lashes ad was banned in the UK. We Americans can still see and fall victim to this "falsie" advertisement. That's sarcasm. I think we all know just about everything printed is touched up in some way. Or it's filmed or photographed with incredible cameras under the perfect lights. And maybe that's okay.
Perhaps we buy the product because we want Natalie Portman's lying lashes. If we try it out and don't see some sort of results, we're not going to be repeat costumers. The brand still has to deliver to have loyalty. Maybe just one purchase per "victim" is all a brand needs. Or maybe it really does work well, just not the kind of unbelievably well that comes from an altered photo. I know my lashes go from non-existent to Oh Hello! with just a few strokes of a wand. Ads, though, still need to have some sort of impact. I do think a gorgeous face is enough. A gorgeous face of a mother is even more effective in my book. Which is why I love that Dior's current sweetheart is Natalie Portman. The retouching I could do without, but it doesn't bother me too much.
Interestingly the reps at Christian Dior admitted that Portman's ad was originally shot to promote lipstick, but because Natalie's eyes looked so incredible, they went that route. The retouchers went to work to make things look ... well ... sell-able, and a scandal was born. The ad can run again in the UK if and when Dior uses the image without the amendments to Portman's lashes.
Natalie should come out of this unscathed though -- definitely not as much buzz against her as when she named her son Aleph. And this isn't as embarrassing as Brad Pitt's Chanel No. 5 ad. But as far as L'Oreal is concerned ... I'd recommend they don't bat their lashes too much. Dior might be out for revenge.
What do you think of ads that enhance photos to sell a product? Does it bother you?
Image via Dior