An ad on the Body Wraps Berkshire Facebook page, seen on 22 October 2015, stated “For All Those Who Don’t Believe Read Her Testimonial”. Text underneath included “#nosurgery … #getinshape … #toneup … #slimming”. Images showed a woman with a baby, her stomach and hip area, which stated “Before wrap” and a photo of her slimmer stomach and hip area which stated “After 8 wraps”. Text stated “‘Above left is me and my little man, taken 1 month before I started wraps … I promise you there is no baby in the above pic, but I can see that I look pregnant! Bottom left is me 8 weeks after starting the wraps. These wraps are truly amazing!’”.
The complainant challenged whether the photos misleadingly exaggerated the efficacy of the wraps.
Body Wraps Berkshire provided the name, telephone number and address of the woman in the photo. They provided proof of communication between them and the woman, which showed that the images in the testimonial, along with other images that appeared to have been taken between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, had been sent to them by her. They also provided an email, in which the woman explained that she had changed her diet, drank two litres of water per day and went to the gym twice weekly in addition to having used the wraps once every week. The email also stated that the woman, encouraged by her results, had moved on to become a distributer of the wraps.
Body Wraps Berkshire said they had removed the images and testimonial from their Facebook page. The product manufacturer, It Works! Global, also responded and said the results were intended to be cosmetic only.
The ASA considered that consumers would be likely to understand that the photos and testimonial were a genuine representation of a weight loss result achieved by using the product for eight weeks, and were representative of the results that could be generally achieved by using the product. We considered the text “#nosurgery … #getinshape … #toneup … #slimming” further contributed to the impression that the weight loss had been achieved by using the wraps alone.
We noted that the communications provided to us by Body Wraps Berkshire showed that the images were all of the same person. However, the communications included dated receipt of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures on the same day and did not demonstrate that they had been taken eight weeks apart.
We acknowledged that the advertiser had removed the ‘before’ and ‘after’ images from their Facebook page after being unable to provide weight loss evidence, but we were concerned that other images also implied that weight loss could be achieved.
Because of that lack of evidence, and because the woman’s experience had also involved wider changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise, we considered the advertiser had not demonstrated that the testimonial was a genuine representation of results that could be achieved using the product alone. We therefore concluded that it was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (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 3.47 3.47 Claims that are likely to be interpreted as factual and appear in a testimonial must not mislead or be likely to mislead the consumer. (Endorsements and testimonials).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Body Wraps Berkshire to ensure that ads did not suggest that weight loss could be achieved in the absence of substantiation.