Ads on the advertisers own website, a banner ad on YouTube and a magazine ad for a cosmetic surgery provider included the claim "Setting the Gold Standard".
PIP Action Campaign challenged whether the claim "Setting the Gold Standard" was misleading and could be substantiated.
Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Ltd said they were confident that they had provided the best quality of care to patients throughout their trading history and always had skilled surgeons, expertise and patient care. They said that all their clinics were registered with the Care Quality Commission and the Health Inspectorate Wales in Cardiff. They said they had carried out a number of surveys (some relating to services carried out under a previous incarnation of Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Ltd) including a 2013 survey for Surgical Satisfaction (for patients who had undergone surgery). They said they had scored 4.5 for quality of care at the hospital and 4.4 to 4.5 for aftercare. They provided a copy of the referenced 2013 survey and stated that it was sent to patients six to eight weeks post surgery and approximately four weeks after the end of a treatment course. The survey results from 286 patients were supplied.
The ASA considered that, without qualification, consumers would understand the claim "Setting the Gold Standard" as an objective claim that Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Ltd had been achieving the highest attainable standard as agreed by independent measures on areas such as patient care and surgical expertise.
Whilst the subjective experience of patients could be a valuable tool in establishing customer satisfaction with Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Ltdover any survey periods since their creation, we considered that it did not constitute evidence that the services offered by them met an independently agreed industry standard that would allow them to make a claim that they had reached the highest level of that standard.
Because objective evidence was not supplied to demonstrate that Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Ltd had been "Setting the Gold Standard" we concluded that the ads were misleading.
The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Exaggeration).
The ads should not appear again in its current form. We told Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Ltd not to state or imply that Aesthetic and Cosmetic Surgery Ltd t/a The Harley Medical Group had set or maintained a highest attainable standard, without holding the necessary evidence.