Not even A-list celebrities are safe from the watchful eye of the Advertising Standards Authority.
The independent watchdog organization, which closely regulates advertising across all media in the U.K., has come down on a Natalie Portman ad for Dior's Dior Show New Look Mascara. As the Telegraph reports, a single complaint was filed with the ASA accusing Dior of airbrushing the ad, exaggerating the advertised effects of the "multi-dimensional volume and treatment mascara."
The $28.50 mascara ostensibly "thickens, separates and extends the lashes for an infinitely multiple lash effect" but a quick perusal of online reviews reveals a mixed bag: some customers love the product, but several Sephora users called the mascara "a huge disappointment," "terrible" and (for all you mascara users, this one's damning) "clumpy."
But as it turns out, the ASA complaint against Dior wasn't filed by a customer but rather by rival brand L'Oreal UK, which itself has been on the receiving end of an ASA ban. In fact Dior told the ASA that they hadn't received any complaints from consumers at all.
However upon investigating, the ASA decided that,
... the ad had therefore used post-production retouching on an area (namely the eyelashes) which was directly relevant to the apparent performance of the mascara product being advertised.
This is not the first time the ASA has given a makeup ad the axe for misleading consumers. In 2011, Julia Roberts' Lancome ad and Christy Turlington's ad for Maybelline's "Eraser" foundation were both pulled for excessive use of airbrushing, and earlier this year L'Oreal was reprimanded for having "misleadingly exaggerated" the quality of Rachel Weisz's complexion in a print ad for anti-wrinkle cream.
Check out the Portman ad in question, below. Do you think the ASA was right to crack down after just one complaint?
UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect new information about L'Oreal UK's involvement and the specifics of the ASA's verdict. See the ASA's response in full here.
See more adverts that got the axe:
The ASA <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/15/banned-ryanair-ad_n_1279529.html?1329336365" target="_hplink">banned these Ryanair ads in February 2012</a>, deeming them too "sexually suggestive" to run in newspapers.
Drop Dead clothing line
Banned in November 2011 for<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/drop-dead-ads-banned-asa_n_1085903.html" target="_hplink"> showing an "underweight" model</a> and sending an "irresponsible" message.
Marc Jacobs Oh, Lola!
Banned in November 2011 for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/dakota-fanning-perfume-ad-banned-marc-jacobs_n_1083535.html" target="_hplink">its potential to "sexualise a child."</a>
L'Oréal's Revitalift Repair 10
Banned in February 2012, for "misleadingly exaggerated the performance of the product," i.e. smoothing over Rachel Weisz's skin with technology, not makeup.
Marks & Spencer lingerie
Banned in November 2011 for <a href="http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG8924873/Marks-and-Spencer-lingerie-advert-banned-for-being-too-sexy.html" target="_hplink">showing ''objectified women''</a> and images that are ''sexually suggestive'' and likely to be seen by children.
Banned in November 2011 for being <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/26/banned-deodorant-ads-uk-lucy-pinder-lynx_n_1113958.html?1322660080" target="_hplink">"sexually suggestive, indecent, provocative."</a>
Miu Miu Fall 2011
Banned in November 2011 for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/23/hailee-steinfeld-miu-miu-ad-banned_n_1109948.html" target="_hplink">its setting, on a rail road track, being "irresponsible."</a>
Banned in July 2011 for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/julia-roberts-loreal-ad-ban_n_910587.html" target="_hplink">"excessive retouching."</a>
Maybelline's The Eraser
Banned in July 2011 for "excessive retouching."
Yves Saint Laurent's Belle D'Opium fragrance
Banned in February 2011 for suggesting <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/02/ysl-belle-dopium-ad-banne_n_817455.html" target="_hplink">"the injection of opiates into the body."</a>
American Apparel Ads
Some of American Apparel ads (including the one above) were banned by Britain's ASA for gratuitous nudity; a few more were deemed "exploitative" for sexualizing young women. (American Apparel photo)
Lara Stone for Calvin Klein
In 2012, Lara Stone posed with a group of male models in this Calvin Klein ad. It was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/21/calvin-klein-billboard-ba_n_771559.html" target="_blank">promptly banned by Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau</a> after they found it to be "suggestive of violence and rape."
Bulgari's Julianne Moore Ad
This ad was pulled in Italy in 2011 after the mayor of Venice found it inappropriate.
Rimmel's Mascara Ad
The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/26/why-was-this-georgia-may-_n_788605.html" target="_blank">banned this ad after they declared it misleading</a> because Georgia May Jagger is wearing false eyelashes -- even though there's a small disclaimer at the bottom that says, "show with lash inserts."
Brian Atwood's Madison Avenue Ads
The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/23/brian-atwood-ads-banned_n_1824162.html" target="_blank">video of this ad was banned from taxis and the print versions were banned</a> from the facade of Atwood's Madison Avenue store after being found to be too racy.
Natalie Portman for Dior
The Advertising Standards Authority<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/natalie-portman-dior-ad-banned-mascara_n_2004837.html" target="_blank"> banned this ad </a>because they felt the ad used excessive "post-production retouching" in order to exaggerate the real effects of the mascara being advertised.
Tom Ford's Gucci Campaign
In 2004, this Tom Ford Gucci ad campaign became controversial as women saw the girl's shaved pubic hair as degrading and wrong.
Rachel Weisz for L'Oreal Paris
This ad was banned after a complaint from Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson who claimed the ad was "misleadingly exaggerated" in that is makes Weisz look far younger than she actually is and presents a bad image for women.
American Apparel Sock Ad
Oh American Apparel, how you love to push the envelope. Here's another one that was banned because the ad is supposed to be promoting socks but it seems more to be exploiting the girl instead.
Taylor Swift for CoverGirl
This Taylor Swift mascara ad was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/20/covergirl-mascara-ad-banned_n_1159957.html" target="_blank">banned by the National Advertising Division of the COuncil of Better Business Bureaus Claims (NAD)</a> after they found the product depiction to be dishonest with it's claims that the mascara will make lashes have "2X more volume" and be "20 percent lighter."
American Apparel Models
Again, American Apparel gets in hot water when they apparently use underage models (girls younger than 16) on their website. Britain's ASA <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/american-apparel-sexy-ads-asa-child-models_n_2243360.html#slide=1805970" target="_blank">accused the store of "sexualizing" underage models. </a>