Watchdogs investigated after a complaint from a viewer who believed that “post-production techniques” had been used to alter the 69-year-old Prime Suspect star’s appearance, specifically with regards to the lines around her mouth.
The viewer challenged whether the TV and press ads for L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect moisturising cream – both featuring Mirren – “misleadingly exaggerated” the effect that could be achieved by using the product.
But the ads were cleared following a formal investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The TV ads featured Mirren, who will be 70 later this month, being offered a seat at a bus stop and looking unhappy, while her voice-over stated: “Ever feel like you go unnoticed? And when you aren’t. . . well. . . enough.”
She added: “It’s the science I trust to help me look like me. Nourish and indulge your skin, and show those age spots who’s boss. Grow another year bolder. Look and feel more radiant. Our perfect age is now. So are we worth it? More than ever.”
There were several close-ups of her face and towards the end of the ad she was shown dressed in a leather jacket and bold make-up, and glancing at a younger man.
L’Oreal stated that they wanted to ensure their depiction of Mirren was in keeping with her public image.
They enclosed four images of Mirren from recent red carpet events and stated that the images of her in the ads were entirely in line with such public appearances when she had been professionally styled and made-up.
The firm noted in particular that the lines around her mouth were consistent in both the ads and the red carpet photos.
L’Oreal provided a list of the post-production techniques that had been used, none of which related to wrinkles or to the skin on her face or neck, and confirmed that no post-production changes were made to Mirren’s face in the TV ad.
The ASA investigated the ads over rules regarding misleading advertising, substantiation and exaggeration, but did not find them in breach of any of them.
An ASA spokesman said: “We considered that consumers would expect Helen Mirren to have been professionally styled and made-up for the photoshoot, and to have been photographed and filmed professionally in flattering conditions.
“With regard to the press ad, we understood that some re-touching had been carried out but that the changes were minor and did not relate in any way to the claims which were made for the product.
“We considered this approach was acceptable so long as the resulting effect was not one which misleadingly exaggerated the effect the product was capable of achieving. With regard to the TV ad, we acknowledged the affidavit provided by the production agency.
“We noted that wrinkles were clearly visible on Ms Mirren’s face in both ads, including across her forehead and around her mouth.
“We considered that the recent press images of Ms Mirren would have reflected a similar degree of professional styling and make-up as the images in the ad, without any post-production amendments, and that her appearance in the ads was comparable to those more candid images.”