Law,  Media

“Aspirational” deception

CNN reports:

Make-up advertisements featuring actor Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington have been banned in the UK because of their controversial use of ‘airbrushing’.

Britain’s Advertising Standards Agency issued the ban after politician Jo Swinson complained about the two ads, for foundation products made by L’Oreal’s Maybelline and Lancôme brands.

L’Oreal admitted the photographs it used had been digitally manipulated and retouched.

But the cosmetics giant claimed they “accurately illustrated” the effects their make-up — Maybelline’s The Eraser anti-ageing foundation and Lancôme’s Teint Miracle –could achieve.

The company described the Roberts image — taken by celebrity photographer Mario Testino — as an “aspirational picture.”

An “aspirtional picture”? This reminds me of when Republican Senator John Kyl falsely claimed that abortion is “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does,” and his office later clarified that this was “not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, does subsidize abortions.”

In other words Kyl, like L’Oreal, aspired to be truthful, and in the end that’s all that really matters.

I assume British law is similar to American law on this. According to the website of the US Federal Trade Commission:

The Federal Trade Commission Act [passed in 1914 and amended in 1938] allows the FTC to act in the interest of all consumers to prevent deceptive and unfair acts or practices. In interpreting Section 5 of the Act, the Commission has determined that a representation, omission or practice is deceptive if it is likely to:

–mislead consumers and

–affect consumers’ behavior or decisions about the product or service.

Enforcement of the law tends to be spotty, but imagine the howls of outrage from the Right (“Big government!” “Socialism!”) if Congress tried to pass such a law today.

I’m sure there were howls of outrage back then, but the howlers didn’t have access to the Fox News Channel.