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Oct. 6, 2015Professional bodies

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Download the 2014/2015 Advertising and Cosmetics Balance Sheet

On Friday 2 October 2015, the ARPP and the FEBEA presented the 2nd"Advertising and Cosmetics" report, the results of which measure the level of application of ethical rules by the industry. With a general satisfaction, since one notes a rate of conformity in progression compared to the 1st balance sheet published in 2013.

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Stéphane Martin, Director General of ARPP (Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité) and Patrick O', Director General of ARPP (Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité);Quin, President of the FEBEA (Federation of Beauty Companies) that was presented this second sectoral report.
And no one turned a blind eye, with the 98.66% compliance figure announced at the outset, up from 97.5% in 2012.

The context

We know: since the entry into force of Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009, cosmetic claims are under surveillance. To be used, they must meet the six common criteria that have been defined (compliance with the law, truthfulness, evidence-based, honesty, fairness, transparency and fairness);This will be the subject of a European Commission report to be presented to Parliament and the Council by 11 July 2016 at the latest. And the text of the Regulation states that"if the report concludes that the allegations do not respect the common criteria, the Commission shall take appropriate measures, in cooperation with the Member States, to ensure compliance".
This means, according to the ARPP, that'if the European Commission were to consider in 2016 that the common criteria were not met, it would take corrective measures. A positive list of permitted claims could be published, thus restricting creative avenues; a tightening of the regulatory framework would also be feared.

Faced with this threat, the French cosmetics industry has embarked on a process of self-regulation, encouraging companies to measure their advertising comments and asking the ARPP to carry out assessments to assess the compliance rate; the rules established both by the common European criteria and by the ARPP Cosmetic Products Recommendation, the 7th revision of which was published in 2013 and which defines the basis for responsible advertising.
A similar study will be carried out in collaboration with advertising regulatory bodies in various countries (Hungary, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, Sweden, France) and its results published at the end of 2015.

This second French assessment was carried out over a four-month period, in September and November 2014, then in March and June 2015. Cosmetic ads from several media were examined: magazine press, national poster, web videos, Internet banners. In view of the systematic monitoring carried out by the ARPP before broadcasting, on-demand television and audiovisual media services have not been studied in this review.

The results

A total of 2,459 ads were reviewed. 33 deficiencies were identified. This gives a compliance rate of 98.66%.
The ARPP then went into detail on the breaches, according to the ethical criteria concerned. With for each one, the visual of the pinned publicity and the answer that the mark addressed to him.

Cosmetic product definition: 7 deficiencies

As a reminder, a cosmetic product is intended to be"placed in contact with the superficial parts of the body", to"clean, perfume, modify its appearance, correct body odours, protect or maintain in good condition".

Seven claims were considered to fall outside this definition or to be excessive to qualify the action of a cosmetic product. This concerns :
a toothpaste claiming to regenerate tooth enamel, and to"reverse the process, as if there had been no erosion"
; - a range of pre- a serum referring to the immune system, with claims such as"Activate immunity"
; of your skin / Target immunity / defensive functions"
; - a facial treatment launched with the slogan"Farewell to acne"
; - a foot cream with one of the alleysAnother, for the face, affirming that it"stopped the pimples"
; - a treatment for the legs associating the indication"heavy legs" and the claim"toni-drainant".

Fair competition: 2 breaches

The ARPP points out here that advertising must not contain any statement suggesting that the product has particular characteristics, even though all similar products have the same characteristics, in particular because of the category of product in question or the simple application of the regulations in force.

To this end, the following have been targeted:
- a range claiming to offer"Products meeting European cosmetic standards"
; - the mention"Products not tested on animals", a quality common to all products in application of the regulations.

Presentation of test results: 11 defaults

In this context, it is mainly the presentation of percentages of consumer tests, not directly associated with the satisfaction of the persons tested and which suggest a calculation of effectiveness, or which are confusing with percentages of effectiveness, that have been recorded.

A few ads were also retooled with results without reference to the study to justify them.

Anti-aging claims: 5 breaches

The rule is clear: a cosmetic product can claim an action on the signs or effects of aging… but this should only concern the appearance of the skin, unambiguously with the concept of a more global"youth".

Only a youthful appearance can therefore be claimed, which is not the case for the following allegations, all of which were considered excessive:
Even time does not resist me","controls skin ageing at its source"
; -"youth activator"
; -"Anti-Time solution"
; -"double dose of youth"
; -"anti-ageing".

Reference to medical or surgical procedures or procedures: 2 breaches

Reference to medical or surgical procedures or procedures is only possible if it does not mislead the consumer into believing implicitly that the product will give equivalent or comparable results to such medical or surgical procedures or procedures.

Two advertisements referring to injections, one with the mention"Forget injections", the other"Discover surgical precision without injection" have been published;The results of these tests cannot be compared to those of an injection.

Slimming/cellulite claims: 2 breaches

The principle is the same as for anti-ageing: products that mention an aesthetic action can refer specifically to cellulite, by the term"anti-cellulite" for example, as long as visual and claim remain in the field of beautification of the skin and its appearance.

The claims"Bye bye cellulite" and"Exit cellulite" which evoke the disappearance of cellulite, are thus excessive for a cosmetic product, since only an action on the appearance of the skin can be claimed.

Sun protection: 2 failures

It is not reasonable to claim 100% protection against UV radiation (as with"sunscreen" or"total protection" claims), nor is it reasonable to claim that there is no need to reapply the product under any circumstances (as with the"all day prevention" claim).

The terms"youthful solar" and"absolute bronze", or"the pleasure of the sun, yes but without worrying about wrinkles", appearing to minimise the effects of the sun on the skin, were considered excessive, with no claim suggesting 100% protection being allowed.

Interventions after diffusion: 2 cases in cosmetics

During the period analysed, the ARPP carried out 22 post-release interventions, two of which concerned cases of non-compliance with its Recommendation"Cosmetic Products". They dealt with anti-aging claims and the need to limit claims to appearance.

The conclusions

The first review conducted by the ARPP in 2013 covered 2,200 ads aired in 2012 and showed 53 defaults. This second review, covering 2,459 ads aired in 2014/2015, shows only 33 breaches. "In two years, breaches have therefore been reduced by more than a third. The commitment of professionals in this ethical approach is therefore no longer to be demonstrated", according to Stéphane Martin, Director General of ARPP.

"We can only welcome the very good results of this report, which clearly show that our companies are fully committed to compliance with the rules of advertising ethics. Above all, it shows that the advertising self-regulation system works, that it is effective and that it allows an evolution in advertising practices. These good results are all the more important in the European context and in the report that the European Commission will report on the application of the common criteria in 2016. This balance sheet provides solid elements for the French market", concluded Patrick O'Quin, President of FEBEA.

To go further
See the Advertising and Cosmetic Products 2014/2015 Report, to download below.

The Observatory of Cosmetics

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