Avon's advert is misleading, says ASALong lashes claims can't be proved

06 September 2007

Cosmetics firm Avon has been told to remove misleading claims from a mascara advert in one of its catalogues.

The advert for Astonishing Lengths Mascara had text below a model’s face which stated that ‘lashes appear 65% longer’.

But this drew complaints from the public to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the model in the photograph was wearing false eyelashes which exaggerated the effects of the product.

Avon admitted that the model was wearing false eyelashes, but it argued this was a standard technique in cosmetics advertising and thought consumers would be aware of this.

But the ASA felt readers of the catalogue would expect the effect of the mascara to work when applied to natural lashes as well.

The ASA was unhappy that it wasn’t made clear that the model wore false eyelashes and thought the claims of the product were exaggerated and therefore breached the advertising code.

ASA demands disclaimer

Avon defended its 65% claim by saying that it had conducted clinical studies which showed a statistically significant increase in lash length among participants, but this claim was also rejected by the ASA which said that not enough triallists had seen a 65% increase in length to substantiate the claims.

Only four out of 42 participants had seen this increase in length – fewer than the 10% benchmark that Avon itself said was an acceptable result.

The regulator called on Avon to remove its claims from future marketing and to include a disclaimer in future mascara adverts making it clear if models were wearing false eyelashes.