Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
An Instagram post for beauty salon Beauty Boutique Aesthetics, seen on 22 December, 2018. The ad included a photo of Kim Kardashian with text that stated “When someone is listing the reasons they don't need Botox & all you can think about is how many units they need ...”. Further text next to the photo stated "We all know that one person don't we. I always recommend clients to question their treatments be administered by - a registered nurse NMC qualified or a Beauty technician? Many beauty technicians may be more than qualified, but always ask yourself, can they administer emergency drugs if the client has an adverse effect? The answer is no. …#botox”.
The ASA challenged whether:
1. the claim “Many beauty technicians may be more than qualified, but always ask yourself, can they administer emergency drugs if the client has an adverse effect? The answer is no” was misleading; and
2. the ad breached the Code because it advertised Botox, a prescription only medicine.
Beauty Boutique Aesthetics did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned at Beauty Boutique Aesthetics’ lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We considered that consumers would consider “Many beauty technicians may be more than qualified, but always ask yourself, can they administer emergency drugs if the client has an adverse effect? The answer is no” to mean that in the event a client of Beauty Boutique Aesthetics suffered an adverse reaction to the use of any procedure, technique or product their staff had sufficient training to administer emergency drugs to reverse that reaction. Therefore we expected to see sufficient evidence to show Beauty Boutique Aesthetics could do so, such as guidance or protocols for responding to such a situation and appropriate staff certification or qualifications. Additionally, we expected to see evidence that the majority of similar beauty salons were unable to do so. Because we received no evidence that Beauty Boutique Aesthetics had the trained staff and/or the necessary resources to deal with any adverse reactions to procedures they administered and that the majority of similar beauty salons were unable to do so we concluded the claim had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading.
On that point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.33 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors).
The ASA understood the advertising of prescription-only medicines (POMs) to the general public was prohibited by the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMRs) and that was reflected in CAP Code rule 12.12. However, we further understood that certain types of content that could be characterised as reference material or announcements of a factual and informative nature were not covered under the scope of HMR’s definition of advertising and, as a result, could not be considered advertising for the purposes of rule 12.12. We therefore assessed the claims to establish whether they were of that nature and if they could be considered as advertising for the purposes of rule 12.12.
We understood Botox was a trading name for a form of a specific botulinum toxin type A product and that it was a POM. We noted there were two references to Botox in the ad which were “When someone is listing the reasons they don’t need Botox & all you can think about is how many units they need” and “#botox”, both of which we considered went beyond the provision of factual information and instead served to promote Botox making it appear more appealing to consumers. We therefore considered that the ad constituted the advertising of Botox as defined by the HMRs and reflected in the CAP Code. On that basis we concluded the ads breached the Code.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 12.12 (Medicines).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Beauty Boutique Aesthetics to ensure they had robust evidence to substantiate that they could administer emergency drugs if one of their clients had an adverse reaction and not to advertise Botox again. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.