back to article Airbrushed Rachel Weisz gets watchdog hot under the collar

The Advertising Standards Authority has ordered skincare outfit L’Oreal to lay off the Photoshop, after it ran a magazine ad showing Rachel Weisz in improbably good form as a result of slapping on Revitalist Repair 10. Rachel Weisz as seen in the banned L'Oreal advert The offending advert featured 41-year-old Weisz's radiant …


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  1. regorama


    Before and after shots please!

    1. Shades

      You really...

      ...don't want before shots. An ex used to take great delight in showing me pictures in her awful z-list tittle-tattle magazines of celebs I once thought "hot". I know that there aren't many people that look great first thing in the morning or when just having a "lazy day" (when most of those types of photos are taken) but some people were almost completely unrecognisable!

  2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    But but

    No-one actually believes these ads do they? Virtually every womans and mens magazine pics are airbrushed to death - no-one really thinks that is a good representation of the person do they?

    Not that I'll cry over a cosmetics company getting a slap.

    1. GettinSadda

      You would be surprised

      I don't believe them, you don't believe them, but sadly we are in the minority that understand how these things work!

    2. tmTM

      Those are fashion mags?

      I always assumed they were photoshop weekly.

      Anyone foolish enough to believe they represent a real outcome through the products use deserves to be relieved of their hard-earned.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Spandy

      Whilst true, there is a big difference though between photoshopping a celeb for an article on them, or changing a models skin when your advertising the clothes they're waering compared to this case.

      When you selling a cream which is meant help skin but the only way to show it's effect is to fake it, then that's taking it to far.

      1. Jerome 0

        @Spandy - So Photoshop is banned only for the face cream ads? Then all the celebs and models in the magazine look young, beautiful and photoshopped, except for the ones in the face cream ads, who all look as old and haggard as they really are. Fine by me, but I can't imagine this is the effect the advertisers are aiming for.

    4. Bjorg

      You would be surprised.

      There are plenty of things like this that I think are common knowledge, but my dumber (for lack of a better word) friends have no idea.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most sensible adults would probably think it's a little too good to be true even if it doesn't register how it's done, it's the young impressionable girls who are suckered in by the fake media bullshit. I have a 9 year old daughter and the number of times we have to remind her that advertising is made to lure in suckers and make them spend money, doesn't bear thinking about! She's starting to get it but you know how dopey and gullible kids can be, the ad-droids know this and they feed on it like nectar!

  3. Kevin Johnston


    I do wish the ASA would stop with this. The fines and/or bans on ads they come out with are meaningless in the terms of the impact on these companies. How about showing some real teeth and banning the company from advertising for a period equal to the length of the campaign involving the offending Ad.

    This would actually have a real impact and would stop the companies that use an Ad they know will fail but by the time it reaches the ASA they have stopped using it anyway.

    1. Ian Yates

      I agree

      What about banning sales of the product advertised during the offense? Any false publicity they've gained is then moot.

      1. nichomach

        Problem is that

        unless the ASA are empowered and resourced to view every advert before it reaches any media, then they can only act retrospectively after a complaint, so the sales over that period have already happened? Unless you mean banning sales of the product *forever*, which might be going a bit overboard?

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Or for some multiple of the time the ad was being shown?

          If the campaign ran for 5 weeks, ban the product for 10 weeks after the complaint is upheld.

          As they should have the right to appeal, they get a couple of weeks after the complaint is upheld before the ban goes into force, and if they do appeal then the ban (both of campaign and product) doesn't go into force unless the appeal is unsuccessful.

          Obviously if they continue to run the campaign while appealing, then the ban gets longer.

          The thing I really don't get is why the ASA don't seem to fine anybody.

          Every single complaint gets the same "action", namely "Please don't do it again."

          Then when the same advertiser does exactly the same thing again, what happens? The ASA just asks if they could possibly consider maybe not doing it again, again.

          It makes me sick, really.

        2. Nick Wallis

          Sliding scale

          Seeing as it's the third time that L'Oreal have been done by the ASA this way they obviously feel that they can ignore the ASA and produce this sort of rubbish until told not to. By which time the damage is done.

          How about the ASA has a sliding scale of punishments which would allow them to force multiple transgressors to remove products from sale not just adverts from showing. Not forever, but for a period equal to that from the first advert being shown to the ASA imposition.

    2. nichomach

      ... the sanctions they impose are the ones they've got, surely. And surely it's better that they impose those and make a very public statement to that effect than be as supine and ineffectual as, for instance, Ofcom? Yes, it would be nice if they have more teeth, but I'm not going to knock them for having a nip with the ones they've got.

  4. GettinSadda

    That'll show 'em

    So, huge profits made by duping consumers, but at least they will be so very inconvenienced by not being able to re-run the now finished ad campaign.

    Of course I don't doubt that when they replace it with other misleading ads which also bring in loads of extra money (from consumers that can't understand why they don't get the same results) they will also be told to stop publishing those (long after they have stopped publishing them anyway)

    Way to go ASA!

  5. Arctic fox

    Its a shame really when you see that type of pic.

    She is a very good looking lady. That kind of picture is so heavily "shopped" that it makes a woman who has genuine beauty look like a barbi-doll - all "plasticky".

    1. Arrrggghh-otron

      ^ -- This.

      I wouldn't have recognised her from that picture.

      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

        With the above

        I'm glad someone told me who that was in the photo, she looks nothing like Rachel Weisz - more like a monochrome muppet out of 'Avatar'.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up


          I'm surprised that no-one else seems to have noticed that it indeed appears to be someone else entirely.

    2. nichomach

      +1. It's disgraceful that someone so genuinely beautiful should be seen by whatever stupid bunch of B-Ark refugees as requiring von-Hagens leveles of plastination to meet their "standards".

    3. LaeMing Silver badge

      Keep in mind...

      ... that advertising people are used to women who look like they are made of plastic. Their girlfriends even have little nozzles to add more air.

  6. F. D. R. Stuart

    This is weirdly reminiscent of'oreal-disappointed-at-ban-on-fraud-201107274128/

  7. Anonymous Cowherder

    I've seen sex dolls that look more realist than that picture.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it combat becoming more right wing?

    Because that's the really problematic sign of ageing.

  9. EddieD

    Recent viral video...

    Hilarious, well made, and accurate.

  10. Ian Yates

    Stuff the pictures

    when will they be held to account for the fake "science" and "vitamins" they spout?

    And their vague concepts of "clinical trials" needs to be regulated, too.

    1. Bakunin
      Thumb Up


      They shouldn't be able to use phrases like "scientifically proven" or "tests show" without displaying a link to a publicly available, peer reviewed paper.

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge

        Why not

        Governments do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      73% of me agrees!

    3. Robert E A Harvey


      "The beauty and advertising industries need to stop ripping off consumers with dishonest images." should be ' ...stop ripping off consumers by selling worthless rubbish'

  11. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Photoshop launches it's new tool

    "Our first multi-tasking anti-ageing tool targets 10 signs of ageing in one."

    ASA can't argue with that !

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      IT Angle

      multi-tasking anti-ageing moisturiser?

      But was it preemptive multi-tasking, cooperative multitasking, or did tasks genuinely run in parallel on 10 cores?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope L'Oreal continues to employ Ms Weisz in this role

    If so, I am available for light buffing duties.

  13. Fuzz

    More powers needed for the ASA

    Rather than fining companies or banning adverts the ASA needs to be able to prevent companies from advertising.

    1. ASA needs to offer a service funded by the advertiser to get their adverts checked in advance

    2. Adverts not checked in advance that are found to be in breach of the code will result in removal of the right to advertise for that company for a period of time.

    3. Repeat offences by a company result in longer bans

    4. Repeat offences from ad houses result in the ad house being banned.

    No fining or retrospective slaps on the wrist required.

    On the plus side, it's a nice shot.

  14. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I have seen the future!

    All you need is an Android (MS or Apple perhaps?) tablet. Hang it from a hat, with the rear-facing camera pointed at your face, and the screen points outwards.

    Run photoshop on it, with airbrushing set to maximum-plasticface. Voila! 'Younger looking' skin.

    I have a guaranteed anti-ageing tablet, and that's a scientific fact. There's no real evidence for it, but it's a scientific fact.

  15. DrXym Silver badge

    Even without the photoshop its misleading

    I believe its misleading even if the picture were natural. Loreal Paris should be required to produce pics of Rachel Weisz suffering these "tens signs of aging" (preferably before being contracted to work for them) and demonstrate quantifiable improvements that they no long exist after using the product. No makeup, vaseline smeared on the camera lens, monochrome or other tricks allowed. If they can't then it's false advertising.

    1. Keep Refrigerated

      She's 42, no spring chicken but still naturally very beautiful, there's no need for them to photoshop. Something I've learned from my wife, you have to find out what the celebrities themselves use, not what they advertise.

      I have no idea what the products are and what their names are but there are these little pots of cream that you can only buy at specialist shops and they cost $100+, not Loreal and not the $20 tub of lard you get when you go to Boots over the counter.

      However celebrities also have stylists and dietitians, which in a small way, helps that anti-aging cream to be amazingly effective.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        missed the first sell but caught by the second

        Those 'little pots' that cost like $100 are more of the same, but they got you with the 'its exclusive' line.

        Didn't they recently do some scientific study that showed the only real moisturising substance is water?

      2. Lamont Cranston

        When I was young,

        I learned that, as people age, so their appearance changes - hair goes gray, skin wrinkles, height is lost, and so on. I also learnt that this is totally normal, and not something to worry about.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're kidding

    "shot using a lot of light " - just look at her eyes. That betrays a standard under and over set up, offset to produce the shadows on her right cheek.

    Talking of cheek, it sound like that's exactly what Loreal have got.

  17. Aron

    Be educated, commenters

    If you've never shot fashion or in a studio, then please refrain from hysteria dear commenters. Let a pro tell you the score.

    The lights used for shooting in a studio are extremely bright. When the flash goes off the combined light penetrates the layers of make up on a model's face. This results in a patchy and rough look that does not represent the results the make up would give in normal lighting conditions.

    Thus the purpose of retouching is not just to enhance the image but also to bring back the 'look' the make up is supposed to give. If you argue, oh why not use a better lighting set up? The answer is you can't if you want the whole model or scene evenly lit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Erm... So increasing the intensity of light makes the image more patchy? And there was me thinking that light behaved linearly. So much for a physics training, eh?

      1. Dave Bell

        The way skin reacts to light is complicated. Things such as sub-surface scattering. And some sorts of make-up change the balance between the surface effects and the sub-surface effects. You then have small-scale surface features, smaller than any wrinkle, which affect the surface reflections, and which are modified by the make-up.

        It is the sort of thing which gives that slightly plastic look.

        There used to be a lot routinely done in the darkroom, even if only the contrast grade of the printing paper and the exposure time. That has to be done in the computer now.

        But, going by what I remember, there's still something that feels wrong about that explanation above.

      2. Aron

        Physics genius

        I didn't say the 'image' became patchy. I said the shooting make up under studio lighting conditions is very difficult and requires retouching afterwards. I can demonstrate more than 5000 images I've retouched over the years for all the top names. It's an unavoidable consequence of shooting in a studio.

        As for the image of Weisz, I consider the retoucher to be quite poor anyway because the image looks retouched (a good retoucher's work looks natural or at least attractive). Companies don't always strike gold when it comes to hiring the right talent.

    2. Weeble


      Could be time for a new ASA guidleline:

      Shoot all "cosmetics" adverts under natural light.

      Just find a studio with a big north-facing window - they do exist.

      1. Aron

        'natural light'

        Shooting cosmetics under natural light is an even more complicated experience.

        The reason they are shot in studio is to get the hue of the make up in the photo to closely resemble the colour of the actual product. This is especially so when there are multiple colour choices of the same product. It's just colour matching, and it saves production time getting it right on set. The only thing they then have to fix in Photoshop is all the subsurface scattering and cracks that appear when make up is shot under those lights.

        Colour matching in natural light is a much harder job to do. First you have to make sure lighting conditions are fine, that they don't change during the shoot, that the weather is clear, that there is sufficient sunlight, etc. Not an easy job already, especially in England. You would also have to shoot ridiculously fast as conditions are always changing, the sun is moving, shadows are falling differently all the time, and then you will find it difficult shooting a model on her back outdoors. Most make up shoots are shot from above with the model laying down, if you've ever noticed the way they like to fan out the model's hair.

        1. Magnus_Pym

          So let me get this right...

          ... you shoot in the studio in artificial light to reproduce the look of the make up then you Photoshop it because the original shot doesn't properly reproduce the look of the make up.

        2. frank ly Silver badge

          But, but, but......

          Makeup is worn (and seen) under natural lighting conditions, or the warm glow of restaurant incandescent lamps, or the cold hard glare of office fluorescents..... so what colour wool is being pulled over who's eyes here?

        3. Richard 12 Silver badge

          So why use a flash at all?

          Why not some nice CP tungsten halogen? That is after all what "Colour Photography" lamps were made for!

          - Or even some of the better LED fixtures. The Royal Wedding Dresses were shot using static full-spectrum LED lighting. (Not "White" or "RGB". Those do have odd colour casts.)

          Perhaps I'm biased as I'm a lighting designer (flash kills lighting), but flash photography always looks shit to me.

          If you don't flash, then you don't end up with overbright, washed out, high colour temp, patchy odd-looking skin that you have to spend a long time editing out.

          If you don't flash, you can actually look at the model and see what they'll look like in the image.

          While your eye has a much higher dynamic range than a film or digital camera, it's still easy to see what the camera will.

          Modern digital and film simply doesn't need high light levels - in HDTV we dropped the lumens quite a long way, and we actually got better pictures that way.

          (For a while the same light levels were kept, and ended up racking the iris almost as tight as it would go.)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that the best they can do?

    Must not be very good at photoshop?

  19. This Side Up
    Thumb Down

    Problem is that

    people buy this stuff.

  20. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    I for one will be happy....

    To closely inspect Rachel Wiesz to veryify the veracity of these accusations against her beauty!!

    Wait, she's already with that James Bond or Austin Powers guy, right? Forget that I mentioned this!

  21. stu 4

    that boots nano-pish is the same

    full page adverts in the Metro most days. before and afters of some bird with filler and without it.

    Who is stupid enough to believe this crap and pay 30 quid for a 30ml tube of goo ?

    Unfortunately lots and lots of (female) idiots.

    It's basic logic that if you lack any sort of understanding of science, then snake oil pish like this is just as believable as anything else you read.

    I reckon probably wimin are a bit worse off than men as regards scientific knowledge (it's just the way we bring em up...).

    However, it is simply the mainstream extension of herbal pills, vitamin supplements, 'anti-oxidants' and a whole lot of other useless shite - most of which is bought equally by both sexes.

  22. LaeMing Silver badge


    In a big pot from Woolies. Cheap and just as effective.

    While the cream is on it causes the skin to shrink slightly, reverts when you wash it off. Same as this expensive goop. Egg-white works too but is a bit gukky and the price of eggs today...!

  23. Synja

    I just saw a picture of her without makeup.

    I'd still hit it.

    1. jonathan keith

      "I'd still hit it"

      That is such a grotesquely ugly phrase. In fact, I can't think of another phrase that's more demeaning to a woman.

      1. Toastan Buttar
        Paris Hilton

        Phugly Rase

        "I can't think of another phrase that's more demeaning to a woman."

        I'm sure if you asked a woman, she could tell you a few.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few years ago, now...

    I don't remember thinking "wow, Rachel is incredibly gorgeous", when I knew her.

  25. Richard 51

    what is the asa on

    quote "advertisers were keen to present their products in their most positive light using techniques" but they are not photographing their products and I bet she has not been anywhere near a pot of their product so how can they justify their augment. Ffs stop this patent fraudulent advertising

  26. Wombling_Free

    Was she born with it?

    Nah, it's A'dobe!

    You have all seen the fake ad, haven't you?

    1. Trygve

      That's another incredibly annoying advert..

      "Maybe she was born with it....."

      All their ads feature women who have earned millions of dollars from looking extremely good on camera. Not only were they born with 'it', many of them subsequently had 'it' upgraded by top plastic surgeons.

      The Maybelline has chuff-all to do with it, they'd still look good on camera if they were wearing Lidl or Wal-Mart own-brand face-gunk.

      And yet some people see these adverts and thing that coughing up for that brand of face-gunk before their big night out in a Croydon night-club will make them look as good in real life as a Brazilian supermodel does on camera. Truly, the power of self-delusion is amazing.

  27. Mediocrates Silver badge

    multitasking goo

    must be full of nanobots...

  28. Obie

    Truth in advertising?

    Ever compared a fast food ad to what actually ends up on your table? I prefer to see beautiful women and good looking food in my magazines and on my television. So, attack the product, not the advertisement, lol.

  29. Chris Beach

    Always Obvious

    Probably because I grew up with computers being used more an more, and that the internet has meant I seen a lot more photographs and videos than my grandparents ever have, a photoshopped (or in any way digitally created) image stands out far more than I think the advertisers realise.

  30. Magnus_Pym

    Women huh!

    They'll buy anything...

    ...Mind you, I'm concerned now that that bloke off of thingy told me that there is a Men Expert somewhere working to help prevent me looking 'fatigued'. And there are 10 signs of that as well! what a co-incidence. I'm just off to check my face in the mirror.

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