The perceived glamour which results from cosmetic surgery and other cosmetic interventions can sometimes overshadow risks, complications, surgeons’ qualifications and a strict consultation process. In an attempt to minimise lumps and bumps or freeze frown lines, cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular. However, normalising and trivialising significant cosmetic procedures in advertising should be avoided at all costs.

The ASA hasn’t ruled that time limited offers are necessarily irresponsible but if you are advertising a sales promotion, tread extra carefully. Claims like “Free Boob job” and “pucker up for that party” could be seen as too trivial for procedures that carry risks of blood clotting, disfigurement, and serious scarring.

Have a read of our Advice Online on Cosmetic Interventions: Social Responsibility and our Help Note on Cosmetic Interventions.

Ensure your ads are socially responsible Recently, a poster seen in the female toilets of a motorway service station promoting medical tourism in Malaysia stated “Boob job” is the most popular cosmetic procedure for women…” The marketer argued that “boob job” was a common colloquial term for breast augmentation. That may be, but the ASA considered that the description of this in an ad for “medical tourism” was irresponsible because it suggested that the decision to undergo breast enlargement was one that could be taken lightly, and that it could be squeezed into a trip abroad (Medical Tourism Association). See Breast-enhancing products: Cosmetic surgery.

Moreover, Secret surgery’s Facebook ad offering a consultation for surgery as part of a “wonderful winter wonderland” trip was seen to go too far. Some might like the idea of undergoing a significant procedure over the Christmas period but surgery certainly won’t be fun and it shouldn’t be described as such! (Secret Surgery Ltd)

Testimonials If you wish to use testimonials to promote your products, ensure that the claims within them are backed up with evidence and are socially responsible. See our guidance on Testimonials and endorsements and Claims in testimonials and endorsements Through its use of testimonials, MYA Cosmetic Surgery gave the impression that cosmetic surgery was a trivial matter and that Vaser Liposuction was a procedure that might not carry the same risks as traditional liposuction. (MYA Cosmetic Surgery Ltd)

Contact Copy Advice for advice about how you can make your non-broadcast promotions comply on 0207 492 2100 or submit your enquiry via our website.

By Avghi Theocharous, Copy Advice Executive

Avghi specialises in advising on cosmetic interventions, cosmetics and skin creams, weight loss, hair, travel marketing, testimonials and endorsements, and occasionally, weapons.


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