A post on the Instagram account for SOSU featured a well-known fashion model and referred to the following:
“How stunning does (name of model) look wearing our Eye Voltage Mascara and black kohl pencil. Tap to shop the look or visit…”
The post was accompanied by images of both products.
The complainant said that the post suggested that the model’s dramatic eye look had been created by her using the mascara and kohl pencil featured, when in fact she was wearing false eyelashes. The complainant considered the post to be misleading.
The ASAI Executive noted that the Product description for Eye Voltage Mascara on the advertisers’ website (sosubysj.com) on 23.03.2022 stated that “The Ultra-Black Mascara helps to volumise, lengthen and curl your lashes with the unique hourglass wand to give eye opening results.
The curl enhancing wand has a round tip to give precise application and easy access to typically hard-to-reach inner corner lashes while creating mega volume and impact.
The water-resistant Mascara is Ophthalmologically tested which can be used on sensitive eyes.”
The advertisers said that while they acknowledged and appreciated the concerns raised by the complainant, they had never insinuated that the model was not wearing false eyelashes.
In the photograph concerned, the advertisers said that the model was wearing a black smoky eye which had been created by applying the Eye Voltage Mascara and black kohl pencil. They said that the Voltage Mascara was used on the model’s top eyelashes which helped to blend the model’s natural lash into the false eyelash. The mascara had been applied to her bottom eyelashes. In conjunction with this, the black kohl pencil had been smoked out either side of her eyes and under the bottom lash line to create the ‘cat eye’ effect.
The advertisers said while they appreciated that it had not been clearly outlined in the Instagram caption that the model was wearing false eyelashes, they reiterated that they had never denied that she was.
They enclosed a copy of their response to a comment on Instagram in which they had been asked if the model was wearing false eyelashes? and they had responded that ‘yes’, she was.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted that the product description indicated that the mascara was intended to volumise, lengthen and curl lashes and they considered that consumers would expect to experience similar results to those shown in the advertising. The Committee considered that the fact that the model was wearing false lashes was relevant information that should have been referred to in the post. As this information had not been included, the Committee considered that the advertising was likely to mislead by omission and was in breach of Section 4.1 of the Code.
Action required: The advertisement should not appear in the same format again.