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Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.
Following a campaign by a British model and body positivity advocate, the Advertising Standards Authority has taken action against misleading ads in the beauty industry. Brands will no longer be permitted to use social media filters in their advertising, as the ASA sided with consumers who complained that these images are misleading.
Sasha Pallari, a 29-year-old make-up artist and curve model, started the #FilterDrop campaign last summer calling for “more real skin” on Instagram. She criticised beauty brands for sharing content by influencers who had used their products, but clearly had applied a filter to the image. Not only does this give young followers an unrealistic ideal to aspire to, but it also implies that the products the brand is promoting will have more dramatic results than they really do. The campaign was reported on by media such as Vogue and the BBC, and convinced the ASA to review their guidelines.
The ASA ruling focused on two particular brands, both promoting fake tan products, which, according to their assessment, “misleadingly exaggerated the effect the product was capable of achieving.” However, the ASA made clear the ruling applied to all brands, influencers and celebrities, meaning it could have wider implications outside of simply the beauty industry. Regulating the social media and influencer space is a challenge for bodies like the ASA, due to the extensive amount of content published every day and the speed with which it can reach a large audience of impressionable young consumers.
While the ASA plays an important role in setting standards for the industry, brands and creators themselves have a responsibility to uphold the standards that consumers expect from them. Trust and transparency are key factors in purchasing decisions, and while a misleading ad might convince someone to make a purchase once, they certainly won’t become loyal customers, and the ease with which they can alert their friends and followers to the disappointing product means even more custom could be lost. After all, we know that young people’s perception of brands is most influenced by their friends and family, so misleading advertising is truly a risk not worth taking.
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