British Ad Nannies Acknowledge That Julia Roberts Is Attractive, Ban Photoshopped Makeup Ad Featuring Her Anyway


British ad regulators have banned a makeup ad featuring Julia Roberts, who, thanks to some digital touch-up work, was apparently too pretty to be in the ad. PC Magazine has the story:

Buying a certain type of foundation won't make you look like Julia Roberts, and Julia Roberts certainly doesn't look the same as she did when she hit it big with "Pretty Woman" in 1990. But the magic of Photoshop can make the actress, or anybody, look like a flawless 20-something, and for that reason a L'Oreal ad showing Roberts with an unattainably immaculate complexion has been yanked in the U.K.

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has called the two-page ad "misleading" and ordered that it "not appear in its current form again."

The advertising watchdog group also pulled another ad, this one featuring model Christy Turlington for L'Oreal-owned Maybelline Cosmetics. The ad was also deemed "misleading."

"On the basis of the evidence we had received we could not conclude that the ad image accurately illustrated what effect the product could achieve, and that the image had not been exaggerated by digital post production techniques," read the ASA ruling.

L'Oreal defended its ad on the grounds that it featured "an aspirational picture of beautiful radiant skin," which is what they say their product helps its wearers achieve. And in its ruling, the ASA was kind enough to acknowledge "that Julia Roberts was an actress well known for her beauty, and that professional styling and make-up were used to create the image" and that "high quality studio photography, and the inherent covering and smoothing nature of the product also contributed to the image of flawless skin." The board even granted that L'Oreal's product produced real results, noting that "pictures supplied from laboratory testing were evidence that the product was capable of improving skin's appearance." But not enough, apparently, to account for the complexion on display in the ad: "We could not conclude that the ad image accurately illustrated what effect the product could achieve," the regulators declared. So it's OK for advertisers to encourage potential customers to aspire to look like a heavily made-up, carefully lit celebrity like Julia Roberts, but not like a digitally touched up version of the same?