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Rimmel ad banned for ‘playing on girls’ insecurities’

By Rachel Douglass


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Maya Jama, Rimmel London brand ambassador. Credits: Rimmel London.

A Facebook advertisement for Rimmel London has been banned by a UK watchdog for its part in playing on “young girls’ insecurities”, a concern that had been raised by two complainants who came forward in regards to the ad’s content.

According to the allegations, the back-to-school advertisement, seen on September 9, 2023, implied young girls were only ready for a new school year if they wore make-up, with the complainants challenging “whether the ad was irresponsible”.

In the video, influencer Lana Jenkins could be seen applying makeup, including Rimmel’s ‘The Multi-Tasker Concealer’, with on-screen text stating ‘contoured queen’ and a discount offer published underneath in a caption.

Responding to the complaint, Rimmel’s parent company Coty said the campaign “no way communicated a need to wear make-up” and had rather “focused on trending make-up looks which the viewer could recreate should they wish”.

The group further noted that the ad was created as a more general reference to the time period and had targeted women aged 18 to 35 in the UK that had expressed interest in beauty, fashion and cosmetics.

Despite Coty’s attempts to reverse the opinion, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the ad could no longer appear.

The decision was based on the organisation’s understanding that the aesthetic of the ad may be primarily understood by viewers as a reference to those returning to senior school or sixth form college, and therefore would be perceived as speaking to that age group.

ASA also stated that the use of the language further implied that girls or young women were more likely to succeed if they wore make-up at school, leading it to the conclusion that its message was “irresponsible”.