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Britain’s ASA Slams Rimmel over Cara Delevingne Mascara Ad

Advertising watchdog called the image of Delevingne’s lush lashes ‘misleading.’

LONDON — Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority, an industry-funded watchdog, has rebuked Rimmel for a mascara ad starring Cara Delevingne.

The watchdog upheld a single complaint about the TV campaign for Rimmel’s Scandaleyes Reloaded mascara, and called it misleading. The campaign initially aired last December, and Rimmel has confirmed it would comply with the ASA ruling and pull the ad.

The ad showed the mascara being applied to Delevingne’s lush eyelashes, which had been enhanced with individual lash inserts. A voiceover said: “Rimmel introduces Cara Delevingne for new Scandaleyes Reloaded mascara. Dangerously bold lashes. New max-density brush for clump free lashes. Extreme volume, extreme wear.”

The British model-actress was named the face of Rimmel last year and continues to serve as an ambassador. In a previous campaign, she appeared as a secret agent running around London in a shoot photographed by Sølve Sundsbø and directed by Anthony Mandler.

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The watchdog acted on a complaint from a member of the public who said the ad was exaggerated compared with the product’s performance.

Rimmel said that while it regretted the ASA’s decision, it would comply with the ruling and not air the TV commercial again in its current form. It said it had worked closely with the ASA since the complaint was raised in December.

Rimmel’s parent, Coty UK Ltd., had argued that the ad provided an accurate representation of the product and its characteristics. The company had provided before and after pictures of Delevingne’s eyelashes to the ASA, along with post-production images.

The company insisted the TV commercial was in line with industry practice, and said it had used the lash inserts only to “fill in gaps and to create a uniform lash line.” The company also noted that during post-production some lashes had even been drawn on so as to stand out against Delevingne’s dark eyeshadow.

Clearcast, the company responsible for clearing TV ads before they are aired in the UK, said both companies had “acted in accordance with the relevant guidelines on cosmetic production techniques and had not used lash inserts to mislead or exaggerate the effects of the mascara. Clearcast said Coty had not lengthened or thickened any lashes in post-production.

“We will reflect on this ruling and use it as a precedent for future clearances,” said a Clearcast spokesman.

The ruling noted that consumers “would expect to experience similar results to those shown in the ad,” given name of the product and the voiceover.

The ASA added: “We noted Coty’s assertion that the post-production techniques used were not intended to lengthen the model’s eyelashes. However, we considered that they did appear to be longer in the after photo. While it was not clear whether this was due to the lash inserts or the ‘re-drawing’ of some lashes in post-production, or both, we considered that the overall effect was longer lashes with more volume.”

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