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BEAUTY

Beauty giant slammed over anti-wrinkle claims

Beauty conglomerate L’Oréal continues to market its anti-wrinkle creams in Sweden with ”misleading information” according to Sweden's consumer watchdog, demanding the company be fined.

Beauty giant slammed over anti-wrinkle claims

”Consumers must be able to trust advertising, even when it comes to beauty products. We want to put a stop to these kind of exaggerations,” said Gunnar Larsson of the Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket) in a statement.

In December last year, the Swedish consumer ombudsman (Konsumentombudsmannen – KO) defeated the beauty giant in a case brought before the Swedish Market Court (Marknadsdomstolen).

The court ruled that the company should not be allowed to claim that its beauty creams can reduce or remove wrinkles if they can’t scientifically prove that the creams actually do so.

“The verdict is a great success and a guide for all companies that market beauty creams. It has now become clearer what one cannot claim either, in writing or through images in advertising,” Agneta Broberg, deputy consumer ombudsman said in a statement at the time.

In addition, the court said it would fine L’Oréal Sweden 1 million kronor ($143,000) if it does not comply with the ruling and ordered L’Oréal to pay 226,400 kronor in KO’s legal costs, of which 181,400 kronor concerned fees, in addition to interest from the date of the verdict until payment is made.

However, since then, the consumer agency has reviewed the company’s adverts and found that the prohibited marketing is continuing online, they said in a statement on Monday.

According to the consumer agency four anti-wrinkle creams are marketed with claims that are in breach of the Market Court’s ruling.

In the advertisement the company claims that ”The effective formula helps tightening the skin and ‘fill out’ the wrinkles from within”, that ”The skin is visibly firmer and the contours of the face more prominent, as if they had been re-sculpted” and that the cream ”Helps strengthening the fibroblasts to stimulate collagen and elastinfibre production in the skin. The skin becomes firmer and wrinkles are reduced”.

However, according to the agency, these claims are exaggerated, and the ombudsman is demanding that the company should be fined for continuing to act in breach of the ruling from last December.

”I am sincerely hoping that the district court will send a strong signal to L’Oréal that it is not OK to mislead consumers,” Larsson said.

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BEAUTY

H&M defends marketing lingerie with fake models

Swedish clothing retailer H&M has defended its use of computer-generated bodies adorned with the heads of real models in order to sell swimwear and lingerie.

H&M defends marketing lingerie with fake models

“This is a technique that is not new, it is available within the industry today and we are using it for our Shop Online in combination with real life models pictures and still life pictures,” said H&M press spokesperson Håcan Andersson to The Local on Tuesday.

The pictures are featured on the multinational clothing giant’s webpage and depict the computer-generated bodies sporting swimwear and lingerie. The figures, which are all adopting identical poses, are completed with the face of a real life model.

The only distinction between the models’ bodies is the pigment of their skin which has been adjusted to fit their faces.

Håcan Andersson told The Local that the firm will continue to use real life models – in their entirety and not just their heads – for current and future campaigns.

“For our Shop Online we are using a combination of real life models pictures, still life pictures and virtual mannequin pictures. For all other marketing and campaigns – outdoor, TV, print and other media, H&M will continue to use real life models.”

The pictures are featured on the multinational clothing giant’s webpage and depict the often idealized female of a thin and leggy form with eight different faces and sporting sporting swimwear.

The ruse was first exposed by Norwegian website Bildbluffen, during a campaign for underwear, and the revelations have generated significant interest in media outlets across the globe.

The firm however denied that the reason for adopting the method was due to difficulty in finding real-life models whose bodies fit the perceived advertising ideals.

“This is not about ideals or to show off a perfect body, we do this to demonstrate an item of clothing. This is done for all clothing, not just for underwear, both male and female clothing,” Andersson told the Aftonbladet daily on Monday.

The fashion industry is regularly criticised for using wafer-thin models in its advertising and H&M is among the firms who billboards are often targeted and defaced by activists.

In a debate article published in January 2011, Sweden’s culture minister Lena Adelsohn-Liljeroth called on consumers to “Boycott the fashion industry’s sick beauty ideals”, warning of the damaging effects on impressionable girls.

In a comment to Aftonbladet on Monday, Adelsohn-Liljeroth said:

“The fashion industry has a responsibility for the ideals which they choose to create and reinforce.”

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