On News For The Week of July 30th, 2011 I led with the piece about the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banning L’Oreal’s advertisement of a wrinkle-free Julia Roberts promoting their new “Teint Miracle” foundation.   On a professional photography forum I posted “but it’s makeup. who expects reality?”

 

miracle_teint_lancome

 

 

And a response to me stated:  “The products weren't make-up as such, but so-called 'rejuvenating' lotions & potions, claimed to make skin younger looking & so on. “

 

Not really, it was a foundation.  But this is my response.  What’s your take on the subject?

 

Sure, all true.  But it's a makeup company who sells makeup designed to cover blemishes, hide wrinkles, etc.  Is it unreasonable for them to combine the effects of their products when advertising just one?  And if so, how strange would it be to see a lady without any makeup at all, but with just lipstick, or mascara, or eyeliner.. They never do that.  If you see an eyeliner commercial then you also see eye shadow, foundation, lipstick, and all their other products together to create the desired image.. as women normally use them.  A woman wouldn't use only a lotion.  A woman has an arsenal of products to choose from and they almost always use several to many of them together.  IMO way too many of them way too often, but I digress.

I just don't see what L'Oreal did as unusual or dishonest.  Everyone wants to be the idealist and blame the greed of the corporations.  But what about the greed of the vain consumer who is so concerned with knocking off 20 years of age, that they don't stop to think that the picture they're seeing isn't all about lotions.. but rather a total product line?  Consumers, imo, have more responsibility to exercise their vote through their purchasing power.  They don't need some clueless agency messing without our art to protect them.  It's politics.

And let's take it a step in an adjacent direction.  When shooting advertising photos/videos.. do we want an agency looking over our work and dictating what visual components we can use?  Is it reality when a Nissan Maxima is driving through the muddy ruts and driving rain.. yet the car remains spotless?  Does food carefully prepared for a product food shoot always have the same care when dropped in front of you at the restaurant?  Does Allstate really have a giant pair of hands holding you during emergencies?  Advertising photography almost always puts forth the best case scenario and often impossible scenarios.  BMW's advertisement for the M1 on top of a 100 story office towers heliport 'drifting' from edge to edge with machine like precision.. can the car really do that?  Can a driver really drive that well?  Or was it a spliced together chromakey production like most every movie we watch on the big screen?

We shouldn't let our idealism strip us of our rights by allowing such powerful oversight in our work.  Idealism is great.  But it's not reality either.  Maybe less so than a wrinkle-free Julia Roberts.  Don't ban the advertisement.  But instead make them put some captions or notice on the add saying they were combined effects or something to that effect.. and if we did that, then get used to seeing that notice to the point we just totally ignore it.. because it will be on every commercial we watch and we'll be so used to seeing it, we won't see it anymore.  And make the damn consumers step up and take responsibility for having a brain.  They don't need protecting.  They need to get over their vanity and consumer greed.