Rimmel has been forced to pull a TV ad campaign featuring model and actor Cara Delevingne after the advertising

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Rimmel has been forced to pull a TV ad campaign featuring model and actor Cara Delevingne after the advertising watchdog ruled that it had been manipulated too much with post-production techniques including airbrushing.

The ad, for the brand’s Scandaleyes Reloaded mascara, showed the model applying the product. The commercial promised “dangerously bold lashes” with “extreme volume … extreme wear”.

The Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint that the ad misleadingly exaggerated the product’s effect.

Coty UK, which owns Rimmel, defended the ad, saying that while there had been post-production treatment it still provided an accurate representation of the product and its characteristics.

Coty said it had prepped Delevingne before applying the product using individual lash inserts but only to fill in gaps and to create a uniform lash line. Then in post-production some lashes were redrawn to make them more visible against the model’s dark eyeshadow.

The company, which denied lengthening or thickening Delevingne’s lashes, said the model had naturally full and long lashes. The ASA, which examined the before and after photos, disagreed.

The watchdog found the after photos showed Delevingne with “more evenly displayed eyelashes on the upper and lower eyelids, which made them appear to have more volume.

“While it was not clear whether this was due to the lash inserts or the redrawing of some lashes in post-production, or both, we considered that the overall effect was longer lashes with more volume,” it ruled.

“Because the ad conveyed a volumising, lengthening and thickening effect of the product, we considered the use of lash inserts and the post-production technique were likely to exaggerate the effect beyond what could be achieved by the product among consumers.”

The ASA, which banned the ad for misleading viewers, told Coty UK not to exaggerate the effect the product was capable of achieving.

The watchdog has cracked down on a string of beauty ads in recent years for issues including overly airbrushing models, driven by a campaign launched by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson.

Ads banned by the ASA include campaigns from L’Oréal featuring Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington in 2011.

In 2012, a Christian Dior ad featuring Natalie Portman was banned for airbrushing the actor’s eyelashes.

An Olay commercial featuring Twiggy was banned in 2009. The ad prompted more than 700 complaints forwarded on by Swinson from her anti-airbrushing campaign.

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