Tag: youth

Real Hair Truth – L’Oreal Paris’s Pervasive and Misleading National Marketing Campaign

The search for the elusive waters of the “Fountain of Youth” has tempted those seeking to restore youth and beauty for ages. Indeed, as the story goes, in 1513, the great explorer Juan Ponce De Leon searched high and low for the “Fountain of Youth” – only to find Florida instead. In the 1800s, “snake oil” salesmen infamously ranged the West selling tonics that claimed to cure every ill, including signs of aging. Today, the search for a youth potion continues and, like modern-day snake oil salesmen. .

L’Oreal USA, Inc. and or and also including L’Oreal Paris Brand Division,  consumers’ fundamental fear of aging and their eternal hope that products exist that can eliminate the signs of aging and effectively turn back time. In fact, L’Oreal profits handsomely by making misleading claims that the L’Oreal Paris Youth Code line of wrinkle creams, specifically Youth Code Serum Intense, Youth Code Eye Cream, and Youth Code Day/Night Cream, (collectively “Youth Code” or “Youth Code Products”) have age-negating effects on human skin.

For example, among other affirmations, L’Oreal Paris specifically promises the following age-negating benefits of using Youth Code: Immediate wrinkle reduction, Skin’s natural regeneration powers are boosted, Breakthrough GenActiv Technology helps stimulate recovery, Boosts skin’s natural powers of regeneration, Skin regains the qualities of young skin, Lines and wrinkles are visibly reduced, Boosts cell turnover. 

 And L’Oreal promises consumers that Youth Code is able to provide such age-negating benefits because of L’Oreal’s claimed scientific breakthroughs and discovery including, but not limited to, the following:

After 10 years of research L’Oreal scientists unlock the code of skin’s youth by discovering a specific set of genes¹ that are responsible for skin’s natural powers of regeneration.

¹in-vivo study

An innovation derived from gene science

L’Oreal’s breakthrough GenActiv Technology™

²Patented in Germany, Spain, France, UK, Italy, and Japan; US Pat. Pending

5. Unfortunately, these claims (and the others detailed below) are false, deceptive, and misleading.

6. As explained more fully herein, L’Oreal Paris has made, and continues to make, deceptive and misleading claims and promises to consumers about the efficacy of Youth Code in a pervasive, nation-wide marketing scheme that confuses and misleads consumers about the true nature of the product. In reality, the Youth Code products do not live up to the claims made by L’Oreal Paris.

7. As a result, L’Oreal Paris’s marketing and advertising campaign is the same as that of the quintessential snake-oil salesman – L’Oreal Paris dupes consumers with false and misleading promises of results it knows it cannot deliver, and does so with one goal in mind – reaping enormous profits.

8. Indeed, the only reason a consumer would purchase Youth Code sold by L’Oreal Paris instead of lower-priced moisturizers, which are readily available, is to obtain the unique results that L’Oreal Paris promises. Upon information and belief, other, lower-priced brands contain substantially the same ingredients or provide substantially the same results as those touted by L’Oreal Paris – the only difference being the false and misleading efficacy claims made by L’Oreal Paris to deceive consumers into paying significantly more for their higher priced Youth Code.

9. A direct result of this pervasive and deceptive marketing campaign is that consumers across the country, including Plaintiffs and the proposed Class, International Patent²

²Patented in Germany, Spain, France, UK, Italy, and Japan; US Pat. Pending

5. Unfortunately, these claims (and the others detailed below) are false, deceptive, and misleading.

6. As explained more fully herein, L’Oreal Paris has made, and continues to make, deceptive and misleading claims and promises to consumers about the efficacy of Youth Code in a pervasive, nation-wide marketing scheme that confuses and misleads consumers about the true nature of the product. In reality, the Youth Code products do not live up to the claims made by L’Oreal Paris.

7. As a result, L’Oreal Paris’s marketing and advertising campaign is the same as that of the quintessential snake-oil salesman – L’Oreal Paris dupes consumers with false and misleading promises of results it knows it cannot deliver, and does so with one goal in mind – reaping enormous profits.

8. Indeed, the only reason a consumer would purchase Youth Code sold by L’Oreal Paris instead of lower-priced moisturizers, which are readily available, is to obtain the unique results that L’Oreal Paris promises. Upon information and belief, other, lower-priced brands contain substantially the same ingredients or provide substantially the same results as those touted by L’Oreal Paris – the only difference being the false and misleading efficacy claims made by L’Oreal Paris to deceive consumers into paying significantly more for their higher priced Youth Code. A direct result of this pervasive and deceptive marketing campaign is that consumers across the country, including Plaintiffs and the proposed Class,purchased skin-care products for higher prices that do not provide the results promised.

10. Moreover, because the Youth Code Products do not provide the promised results, Plaintiffs and the proposed Class did not receive what they paid for.

11. L’Oreal Paris’s deceptive statements about the efficacy of Youth Code are equally applicable to each of the Youth Code Products because those deceptive and misleading statements appear uniformly on all Youth Code product advertisements and packaging.

12. Plaintiffs seek relief in this action individually and as a class action on behalf of all purchasers in the United States of at least one of the Youth Code Products (“the Class”) at any time from the date of product launch to the present (the “Class Period”) for violation of consumer protections laws including Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A, Sections 349 and 350 of the New York General Business Laws and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. § 58:8-1.

So basically they are suing Loreal for Deception. L’Oreal Paris’s pervasive false and misleading national marketing campaign includes the dissemination of deceptive advertising through a variety of mediums including, but not limited to, internet, television, and print media. Many of the same deceptive and misleading statements are also printed on the Youth Code product boxes. A central theme of L’Oreal Paris’s deceptive and misleading national marketing campaign, which permeates throughout its print, television and web-based advertisements and product literature, is that Youth Code, and the results promised by L’Oreal Paris, are the result of vigorous scientific research. In fact, while such claims of scientific research and discovery provide L’Oreal Paris with an increased level of credibility among unsuspecting consumers, and therefore increased sales, the scientific “discoveries” are simply part and parcel of L’Oreal Paris’s deceptive and misleading advertising campaign. Despite L’Oreal’s admission in its Code of Business Ethics (2007) that “overselling our products by making inflated or exaggerated claims for them is dishonest,” L’Oreal nonetheless turns a blind eye to its own policy for the sake of increased profits. By making specific promises regarding the efficacy of Youth Code, L’Oreal Paris’s advertising transcends the realm of mere puffery and becomes actionable as deceptive and misleading.

Regardless of where Plaintiffs and the Class purchased the Youth Code products (i.e., on-line, in a drugstore, or from third-party retailers), they were exposed to L’Oreal Paris’s pervasive, deceptive and misleading advertising messages and material omissions regarding the efficacy promises of Youth Code. Indeed, no reasonable consumer would purchase a $24.99 jar of wrinkle cream without some “knowledge” of what the product claims to do.

 L’Oreal Paris’s advertising and marketing for Youth Code is misleading in several ways. L’Oreal Paris claims that the Youth Code products are protected by an “INTERNATIONAL PATENT.” This patent claim is found on the product boxes themselves and is printed directly below the claim “YOUTH GENERATING DISCOVERY – Innovation derived from GENE Science.” The proximity of the patent claim to the “YOUTH GENERATING DISCOVERY” claim misleadingly conveys to consumers that the patent somehow involves the purported “10 years of research” leading to the “discover[y]” of a “specific set of genes.” However, upon information and belief, none of the actual patents listed on any of the Youth Code products relate to any such gene innovation or the discovery of a “specific set of genes that are responsible for the skin’s natural powers of regeneration.” Instead, upon information and belief, the patents identified on the Youth Code packaging relate to: “novel compounds having an improved power to moisturize skin and/or hair”; “a new family of thickening or gelling polymers making it possible to obtain stable thickened cosmetic and dermatological formulations”; “a novel family of thickening and/or gelling polymers which makes it possible to obtain a very large number of cosmetic and dermatological formulations which may contain supports of different nature”; and a “photostable cosmetic composition intended for protecting the skin against UV-radiation.” Falsely touting that its research has led to a discovery of a specific set of genes that is protected by patents is part and parcel of L’Oreal Paris’s deceptive scheme to convince consumers that its products will provide unique skin regeneration benefits based on the promised and patented “gene science” discovery and are therefore worth their price tag. L’Oreal Paris heavily markets its Youth Code in print media, including the placing of advertisements in such widely circulated magazines as Glamour, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, among others. L’Oreal Paris’s print media advertising contains the same false and deceptive claims as its other forms of advertising detailed herein. L’Oreal Paris touts the benefits of its skin-care products using models and celebrity spokespersons who claim to exemplify the results of the products. What L’Oreal Paris fails to disclose is that the images of the celebrities it uses are airbrushed, digitized, embellished, “Photo-shopped” or otherwise altered and, therefore, contrary to the claims made by Lancôme, cannot and do not illustrate the effectiveness of its products. In sum, the images used by L’Oreal Paris to sell Youth Code have nothing to do with the effectiveness of the products themselves.

 julia roberts lancome Fake images banned for misleading consumers.

Most recently, the National Advertising Division in the United States has taken a stance against the use of Photoshop in cosmetics advertising, noting that “advertising self-regulatory authorities recognize the need to avoid photoshopping in cosmetics advertisements where there is a clear exaggeration of potential product benefits.”

L’Oreal Paris uses statistics to mislead consumers into believing that the promised results are virtually guaranteed. For example, in the above print advertisement, L’Oreal Paris claims that “95% of women saw results.**” Any reasonable consumer would associate that claim with the foregoing specific efficacy promises that “One Drop instantly improves skin quality; One Week skin looks visibly younger; and One Month skin acts dramatically younger.*” However, in virtually unreadable, microscopically small print at the very bottom of the advertisement, L’Oreal Paris clarifies the results and promises. The single asterisk indicates that after use of the product for one month, “*Skin is firmer and cell renewal increases.” However, underneath that, L’Oreal Paris attempts to clarify that the results that 95% of women saw were not for firmer skin, cell renewal or visibly younger skin – but rather for “One or more of these benefits: feels restored, rested, smoothness.” This nonsensical (and nearly invisible) disclaimer has nothing to do with the claims that Youth Code makes as to its gene science, gene research and skin regenerating powers in the primary marketing message. Thus, the attempted disclaimer does nothing to cure the misleading nature of the use of the statistical “95%” claim. L’Oreal Paris’s false and misleading claims are the crux of its marketing campaign for Youth Code, therefore leading to increased sales and profits for L’Oreal Paris that it otherwise would not have enjoyed without resorting to such deception. L’Oreal Paris’s promises of specific results and scientific discoveries that enable such results cannot be defended as mere puffery. Indeed, L’Oreal admits in its 2011 annual report that the “close interaction between science and marketing . . . is a key advantage to L’Oreal’s innovation approach.” L’Oreal Paris relies on such a “close interaction” because it knows that consumers are more likely to believe its empty promises, and therefore more likely to purchase it products, when indicia of scientific research are present. To perpetuate its deceptive scheme, L’Oreal Paris has a short product cycle, releasing new products every couple of years based upon some new “research” or purported “scientific discovery.” L’Oreal Paris does so in order to falsely tout its new products via a re-imagined marketing campaign in order to keep driving sales and profits that would otherwise stagnate once consumers used the products and realized that they do not perform as promised. This scheme is evident by the fact that L’Oreal Paris discontinues sales and production of its older products once new products are introduced to the market, despite the fact that the claims made on the discontinued products are purportedly designed based on amazing scientific breakthroughs. For example, L’Oreal Paris discontinued its Wrinkle Defense product, for which it made the following promises: combats the emergence of new lines and surface wrinkles, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, skin-resiliency booster, L’Oreal Paris discontinued this product from the market despite its promised efficacy. L’Oreal Paris’s removal of the purportedly effective product, Wrinkle Defense, from the market demonstrates that L’Oreal Paris’s promised discoveries and benefits are illusory and nothing more than clever marketing. Basically they are always in court. Remember read the labels on your products everyone. If you cannot pronounce it don’t use it!