ASA bans ‘misleading’ airbrushed Twiggy advert for Olay

From a party press release:

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against an Olay advert containing a heavily airbrushed image of the model Twiggy on the grounds that it was misleading following a campaign led by the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrats have called for airbrushed ads to be clearly labelled, and for airbrushing to be banned in adverts aimed at children.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who has led the campaign, said:

I hope this decision marks the first step in really getting airbrushing in advertising under control.

If advertisers think that someone as beautiful as Twiggy needs to be so heavily airbrushed, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

Experts have already proved that airbrushing contributes to a host of problems in women and young girls such as depression and eating disorders.

Liberal Democrats believe in the freedom of companies to advertise but we also believe in the freedom of women to be as comfortable as possible with their bodies.  They shouldn’t constantly feel the need to measure up to a very narrow range of digitally manipulated pictures.


A recent Liberal Democrat commissioned report by the world’s leading body image experts contained scientific evidence showing how the use of airbrushing to promote body perfect ideals in advertising is causing a host of problems in young women such as eating disorders, depression, extreme exercising and encouraging cosmetic surgery. The paper reveals that:

  • Body dissatisfaction is a significant risk for physical health, mental health, and thus well-being. Any factor, such as idealised media images, that increases body dissatisfaction is, therefore, an important influence on well-being
  • Negative effects occur in the clear majority of adolescent girls and women in over 100 published scientific studies on the impact of thin, ‘perfected’, media images on girls and women
  • The weight of evidence across a great many studies documents that ultra-thin and highly muscular ‘body perfect’ ideals have a detrimental effect on women and men
  • Adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to body perfect images
  • A subscription to a fashion magazine increased body dissatisfaction, dieting, and bulimic symptoms amongst adolescent girls who had low levels of social support
  • Curbing the impact of idealised media images leads to improvement in body image and body-related behaviour

For more on the Liberal Democrats’ Real Women campaign, visit the website.


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