A Facebook advertisement for cosmetics brand Rimmel London has been prohibited by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for allegedly exploiting young girls’ insecurities. The ban follows concerns raised by two individuals about the content of the back-to-school campaign, which was aired on September 9, 2023.
The complainants argued that the advertisement suggested girls would only be prepared for the new school year if they used makeup. The ad featured influencer Lana Jenkins applying Rimmel’s ‘The Multi-Tasker Concealer’, accompanied by on-screen text such as ‘contoured queen’ and a promotional discount.
In defense, Coty, the parent company of Rimmel, claimed that the campaign did not communicate a necessity to wear makeup, but instead showcased popular makeup trends for viewers interested in recreating them. Coty also mentioned that the ad targeted women aged 18 to 35 in the UK with an interest in beauty, fashion, and cosmetics, and was intended as a broad reference to the time period rather than targeting school-aged girls specifically.
Despite Coty’s explanation, the ASA ruled that the advertisement must be discontinued. The authority determined that the ad’s aesthetic could primarily be interpreted as referencing those returning to senior school or sixth-form college. Furthermore, the ASA concluded that the language used in the ad implied that girls or young women would be more successful in school if they wore makeup, deeming the ad’s message as “irresponsible.”
The ruling by the ASA reflects the increasing scrutiny of advertising content, especially those that may impact the self-image and confidence of younger audiences.