Thursday, February 14, 2013

L'Oreal: British Ban Airbrushed Rachel Weisz Skincare Ad (2012)


Based on a paper by Tayler Dotigney

Summary by Abigail Frasier


     In 1909, L'Oreal Cosmetics was created in Paris, France. Little did the chemist, Eugene Schueller, know that he had created the world's largest cosmetics company. L'Oreal's revenue was $7.07 billion in the year 2012 alone. The company advertises 23 product lines in more than 130 countries. One particular advertisement was banned in Britain because the company's unethical ad. The ad was of actress Rachel Weisz, she was promoting L'Oreal's Revitalift anti aging skin cream. The cream is meant to reduce wrinkles in older women's faces. Britain banned this ad because the company air-brushed the actress' face a little too much, making her face unrecognizable.
   According to Individualism, L'Oreal's move was not unethical. The Individualist view is that everyone is given the right to their own personal interests. Individualist want to enlarge their freedom and profit and they also respect other people's interests as well. Air-brushing is legal for companies to do, so companies air-brush to help increase their profit. L'Oreal wanted their profit to grow and they thought that exaggerating their advertisement would help increase their profit. Looking at the customer's point of view with the Individualist perspective, they are lied to with the advertisement. Customer's think that if they buy the Revitalift their wrinkles will be completely gone just like Rachel Weisz's. In reality, their face will not look like that and the customer will not be happy.
   The Utilitarian's view is to be happy. L'Oreal was unethical in this theory because the company was not thinking about their customers when they decided to continue air-brushing Rachel Weisz to the extent that she was unrecognizable. The Utilitarian theory includes stakeholders. The stakeholders in this situation are the company, Rachel Weisz and most importantly their customers. With L'Oreal's decision and having the image banned, their company is a stake because they were not true to their customers by fixing the image too much. Rachel Weisz is a stakeholder because she will be known as the person who's advertisement was banned. Finally the customers are stakeholders because they are buying a product that was falsely advertised. What L'Oreal should have done to make their customer's happy was to advertise the product more realistically than providing false advertisement.  With the Kantian theory, people or a company should respect others. The Formula of Humanity is to not take advantage of one another. L'Oreal completely took advantage of Rachel Weisz and their customers. The Formula of Humanity was not seen at all because the customers were taken advantage of by not seeing the true results of Revitalift and Rachel Weisz was taken advantage of by having her picture digitally enhanced to make her unreconizable. L'Oreal did not respect the customers because they are showing fake results of the product. L'Oreal also disrespected Rachel Weisz because they completely changed her look. The Kantian theory also states that one should act in Good Will, L'Oreal did not because they were only interested in increasing sales rather than thinking about the customers and Rachel Weisz.

  Lastly, the four virtues in the Virtue theory are courage, honesty, temperance and justice. L'Oreal was unethical in all four virtues. Courage is taking the right action. L'Oreal did not take the right action by going over board with the air-brushing. L'Oreal was not honest in their decision as well. If they were honest they would have done little to no air-brushing to the image. The image that L'Oreal advertised did not provide "reasonable expections" if they did than perhaps Britain would not have banned the advertisement. Finally, L'Oreal went against justice because they did not advertise in the image what the true quality of Revitalift is.
  Maybe if L'Oreal was more aware of ethics in the business world then countries would not have to banned their advertisements and their profits could increase even more. L'Oreal's slogan is "Because you're worth it", if their customers are really "worth it" shouldn't they at least know the truth?

These facts and analyses are based on an original research paper by Tayler Dontigney, "British Ban Airbrushed Rachel Weisz Skincare Ad" (2012)

Allen, J.E. (2012, February 01). British ban airbrushed rachel weisz skincare ad. Retrieved from 

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Salazar, Heather. "Business Ethics and Virtue." Western New England University, Springfield. 6 February 2012.

Salazar Heather. "The Ethical Theory of Individualism." Western New England University, Springfield. 25 January 2012.

Salazar Heather. "Kantian Business Ethics." Western New England University, Springfield. 1 February 2012.

Salazar Heather. "Utiliarianism and Business Ethics." Western New England University. Springfield. 30 January 2012.

Roberts, Andrew. "L'Oreal Confirms 2012 Goal as Sales Disappoint Some Analysts." Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg, 06 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.

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