Photoshopped Rimmel ad by beauty blogger was ‘misleading’

Advertising watchdog makes first finding against a social influencer

A complaint about an ad by beauty blogger Rosie Connolly has become the first by such a social influencer to be upheld by the ASAI. Photograph: rosieconxxx/Instagram

Ireland’s advertising watchdog has found a blogger promoting Rimmel makeup products to be in breach of its code, a first finding against such a social media platform.

The ad in question, which featured on both Facebook and Instagram, showed "fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger" Rosie Connolly using Rimmel's "Lasting Finish Breathable" foundation and concealer product.

A complainant told the Advertising Standards Association of Ireland (ASAI) the ad was misleading in that Ms Connolly’s face appeared photo-shopped and filtered.

"She [the complainant] considered that people may purchase the Rimmel Foundation thinking they would achieve the same results if they used the product but as the image had been altered this would not be the case," the ASAI said in a summary of complaints it had received, published on Tuesday.


In response, Ms Connolly said that as Rimmel had approved the images, the complaint should be addressed to them.

Rimmel acknowledged the image had been filtered using an in-built camera feature and said while this practice was not covered by ASAI guidelines it had nevertheless taken steps to “avoid any future issue”.

The post was not intended to mislead and they had removed it because it did not reflect their values as a brand, it told the ASAI.

In comments accompanying the ASAI's latest "complaints bulletin", chief executive Orla Twomey said the Rimmel case was "the first time a complaint about an influencer/blogger has been upheld by the Complaints Committee".

“Over the past few years, we have spent considerable time highlighting awareness in relation to advertising best practice within this space to ensure all relevant parties are equipped with the knowledge and resources to correctly identify commercial marketing content across their platforms,” she said.

In total, 13 of 16 advertisements were found to be in breach of the ASAI code.

A separate ad for the car maker Kia was found to be in breach of standards following a complaint that it appeared to suggest a suicide. The video shows a man jumping off a cliff and screaming as he falls towards the sea.

“The complainant said he found the advertising to be extremely disturbing as, before he noted what the advertisement was for, he considered that the fully clothed man was attempting to commit suicide,” the ASAI outlined.

He also commented that the man’s actions were irresponsible as they could “potentially encourage others to swim alone or to participate in similar unsafe behaviour around cliffs”.

In response, Kia said the character in the video had a wish list of things he wanted to achieve including taking over as DJ in a famous Berlin nightclub, participating in the Tomatina in Spain and travelling to Scotland for the cliff jump.

“The advertisers said that whilst they took on board the complainant’s opinion, they did not agree that this advertisement was in any way encouraging dangerous behaviour or suicide,” the ASAI said.

It upheld a complaint against Paddy Power over its use of GAA players in an ad in a race card for a meeting at The Curragh Racecourse which featured their superimposed images.

The Gaelic Players Association objected because none of the individuals had given their permission for their image to be used and because they have campaigned "strongly and determinedly" on the problems caused by gambling.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times