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Agency Bans Dior Mascara Ad Featuring Natalie Portman

Scott Barbour/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A Christian Dior mascara ad featuring actress Natalie Portman has been banned in England after rival makeup company L’Oreal complained that the magazine ad was misleading and exaggerated.

L’Oreal complained to Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority, the independent agency that regulates advertising across all media and that takes action against advertisements that are misleading, harmful or offensive.

The ad for DiorShow New Look mascara showed Portman with a lush, thick fringe of long lashes, and claimed the makeup would deliver a spectacular volume-multiplying effect, lash by lash.  L’Oreal believed it “misleadingly exaggerated the likely effects of the product,” according to the ruling posted on the authority’s website this week.

Dior said it hadn’t received any complaints from consumers, which the company believed demonstrated that the ad didn’t go beyond the “likely consumer expectations of what was achievable with the product,” the ruling said, adding that Dior claimed the ad was stylized and “aspirational.”

Dior told the Advertising Standards Authority that Portman’s natural lashes were digitally retouched in post-production to lengthen and curve them.

Both companies declined to comment to ABC News.

“There is a line they know not to cross,” Lisa Granatstein, managing editor of AdWeek, told ABC News.  “When they do cross it, that’s when the problems happen.”

The advertising authority said it considered that the ad’s claims, along with Portman’s image, “would be understood to mean that the mascara could lengthen the lashes, as well as separate them, increase their thickness and volume, and generally enhance lash appearance.”

Because the ad was likely to mislead, it must not appear again in its current form, the authority ruled.

The agency has also banned other makeup advertisements featuring stars such as Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington.

In the United States, experts say, ads such as the Dior one are everywhere but companies are less reluctant to call each other out for making false claims.

“It’s freedom of speech here in the United States and it’s really an excuse for anything from deceptive campaign advertising to mascara advertising,” Granatstein said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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