A TV ad for a home-use skin treatment product My Perfect Facial, seen on 27 August 2021, featured the product’s creator Penny Lane, who stated, “When you look in the mirror do you see areas you'd like to improve? When you decide to take the steps to improve the appearance of your skin you have many options available to you. The salon, injections, maybe even surgery, but let me show you another option. My Perfect Facial is a salon-inspired three-step treatment … It contains ingredients proven to help improve the appearance of your skin, including BHAs and marine algae.” The voiceover then stated, “Thousands of men and women have already discovered My Perfect Facial, just look at these amazing reviews”, while a number of five-star consumer reviews and testimonials appeared on screen. That was followed by several video clips of consumers talking positively about their experiences with the featured products. The voiceover then summarised, “My Perfect Facial can be added to any beauty regime. I created this treatment so real men and women, just like you and I [sic], could achieve better looking skin using proven ingredients in the comfort of their own home.” Throughout the ad a number of “before” and “after” photos of consumers who had used the products were shown.
IssueThe complainant, who believed that Penny Lane had used Botox, challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that the appearance of her skin was due to the featured products. The ASA did not receive complaints about or investigate the claim about the efficacy of the skin treatment itself.
Clearcast said that they were not aware of any public accounts claiming that Penny Lane’s appearance was the result of surgical intervention and that in their view there was no direct or indirect suggestion that the appearance of Penny Lane’s skin was due to the products featured. They said that Penny Lane had instead claimed the product was suitable for everyone, including herself, and that the ad drew attention to the product’s ingredients and the user trials. They said the ad highlighted consumer testimonials, and that Penny Lane’s personal beauty regime was irrelevant to the ad’s message.
My Perfect Cosmetics Company Ltd t/a My Perfect Facial confirmed through their agency that they did not have any further comments on the complaint.
The ASA noted that the ad opened with Penny Lane introducing the featured treatment, explaining how it worked, and what benefits it might offer to those interested in purchasing the treatment products. Throughout the ad Penny Lane provided further information about the products and introduced consumers’ experiences of them. We considered those customer testimonials and appearances made up the majority of the ad and were its main focus. That was exemplified through written consumer reviews, video clips showing consumers talking about their experiences, consumers using and applying the products, and “before” and “after” images of consumers. We considered viewers would view Penny Lane’s main role in the ad as a presenter, introducing and promoting the products to viewers in general terms.
We acknowledged that, as the creator of the product and through her appearance in the ad, some viewers might infer that Penny Lane used MyPerfectFacial and some might also question whether it was solely responsible for the appearance of her skin. We noted, however, that Penny Lane made no explicit claim in the ad to have used the products to achieve the appearance of her own skin, nor was she featured demonstrating or using the product in the ad. We were also not aware of any public accounts indicating that Penny Lane’s appearance was the result of surgical work.
We acknowledged that, towards the end of the ad, she said, “I created this treatment so real people like you or I [sic] could achieve better looking skin … in the comfort of their own home.” We considered viewers would understand that to mean that she was the creator of a salon-style treatment which could be used at home and would therefore be accessible to a wider consumer base.
Because we considered that viewers would understand the main focus of the ad was on consumers’ experiences, and would understand the claims made in the ad as relating to the effects and purported benefits of the products generally, rather than on Penny Lane specifically, we concluded the ad had not misleadingly implied that the appearance of Penny Lane’s skin was due to the featured products and had therefore not breached the Code.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code (Edition 12) rules
The standards objectives, insofar as they relate to advertising, include:
a) that persons under the age of 18 are protected;
b) that material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder is not included in television and radio services;
c) that the proper degree of responsibility is exercised with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes;
d) that generally accepted standards are applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from inclusion in such services of offensive and harmful material;
e) that the inclusion of advertising which may be misleading, harmful or offensive in television and radio services is prevented;
f) that the international obligations of the United Kingdom with respect to advertising included in television and radio services are complied with [in particular in respect of television those obligations set out in Articles 3b, 3e,10, 14, 15, 19, 20 and 22 of Directive 89/552/EEC (the Audi Visual Media Services Directive)];
g) that there is no use of techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds, without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred"
Section 319(2). (Misleading advertising) and 3.12 3.12 Advertisements must not mislead by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service. (Exaggeration), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.