A splashy "Simply American" campaign from Revlon's Almay cosmetics line has come under fire from ad watchdog Truth in Advertising, which says the push is deceptive about its products' origins.
Bonnie Patten, executive director of the Madison, Conn.-based group, said Almay's "implied, unqualified claim that its cosmetics are made in the USA is false advertising," alleging it violates FTC "Made in the USA" guidelines.
Almay said its campaign is designed to "capture the 'spirit of American beauty,' a fresh look that enhances natural beauty; is light and uncomplicated; pure and hypo-allergenic."
"While we make no claims in our advertising beyond the style our products offer, Almay's Simply American campaign complies with the FTC's rules regarding 'MADE IN USA' and the use 'American,'" said Zoe Schepps, PR manager for Almay.
The company, which uses Lippe Taylor for PR, launched the American flag-laden campaign in January with singer Carrie Underwood as its face.
The brand kicked off a new push with the USO last month to honor military veterans as part of the Simply American campaign that includes monetary donations to the USO and the #SimplyAmerican social media effort. “American ingenuity has always been at the heart of Almay and the brand is proud of its American heritage,” Revlon president and CEO Lorenzo Delpani said in launching that effort.
Both Revlon and Almay, which it acquired in 1987, were founded and are based in the US.
Almay kicked off a summer bus tour May 15 in New York with plans to hit state fairs and festivals to support the Simply American campaign.
Truth in Advertising, which said it filed complaints with the FTC and New York Attorney General, said three of the seven Almay products featured in its Simply American ad are made in foreign countries.
Added Schepps: "We are proud of our American heritage and US-based operations. All of Almay's products are formulated in our labs in Edison, New Jersey, and 88% of our products are manufactured in our Oxford, North Carolina, plant."