An email advertisement that went out to consumers in the United Kingdom was recently banned, after the makers of Rodial body cream could not substantiate claims that the cream would have slimming effects. The ad displayed a photo of the actress Mila Kunis and promised that the formula would give buyers the same look that Kunis had in the photo.
A watchdog group investigated after receiving a complaint about the fraudulent claims and investigated. They ultimately concluded, as many of us already knew, that a cream could not possibly produce the result shown in the photo.
Deceptive advertising is particularly rampant in the beauty industry, as companies try to convince consumers that their product holds the key to looking like a celebrity. However, as many in the industry are aware, an aggressive combination of strict dieting, exercise, expensive hair and skin treatments, and photo retouching are actually the source of the illusive look in these ads.
Most beauty products don’t go as far as to make promises that their product will result in the precise look seen in the ad, but positioning the product and the image next to each other gives that impression.
Since the watchdog group is only effective in banning advertisements shown in the UK, many of these same images appear in ads and offers in the United States without caveat. This is one reason why it is important for consumers who have been misled to pursue civil actions in this area as a way of discouraging fraudulent claims in advertising in the future. Companies often get away making false and misleading claims because their products cost a relatively small amount, making it impractical for individuals who have been victimized to sue. Class actions are a powerful tool in these types of situations, where the aggregate amount of harm is large enough to justify legal action.
Source: The Guardian, “Mila Kunis ad campaign banned for misleading claims,” Mark Sweney, Jan. 16, 2013.