Advertisement for hair-growth hairspray banned as misleading
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned
a television commercial for Mane hairspray, claiming it was misleading
and exaggerated. The commercial claimed that using Mane would
give consumers the appearance of fuller natural looking hair in
minutes. After reviewing the footage, the ASA determined the changed
appearance of the hair was due entirely to factors other than
the product’s performance.
According to the ASA, the company relied on camera tricks and
careful editing to give the appearance the product delivered on
its promises. The ASA claimed the hair on the male “before” picture
was wet and greasy, making it appear thinner. The thick hair of
the “after” picture was allegedly the result of combing
over dry, fluffier hair rather than the application of Mane. The
photos of the female subject in the same commercial were also
deemed misleading by the ASA, which alleged that changed lighting
and a more flattering pose were behind the apparent transformation.
The company that manufactures Mane denies the allegations by
the ASA, and stands behind both the ad campaign and its product.
The subject is a touchy one, especially for men; 75 percent of
males over the age of 40 experience some degree of hair loss.
Since ancient times, people have sought remedies for baldness,
but the primitive treatments of hippo fat, pigeon droppings, and
beetroot have given way to a multi-million dollar industry that
runs from prescription drugs like Rogaine and Propecia to over-the-counter
applications like Mane.
Effusive claims of near-miraculous transformations are rarely
backed by hard facts, yet millions of consumers continue to search
for the perfect cure. In banning the commercial for Mane, the
ASA has taken arrayed itself firmly in the camp of the average
consumer, and fired a warning shot sure to impact the industry
at large in the months ahead.