An Instagram post by The Belvedere Clinic, appeared on 28 September 2021. The post’s image included text which stated, “40th Anniversary Special Offer BREAST ENLARGEMENT £3400* (normally priced £6500) Call the Belvedere Clinic NOW for further information … Limited to the first 50 applicants *terms and conditions apply”. The post included a caption which stated, “40th Anniversary Special Offer. Limited to the first 50 applicants” and “To celebrate The Belvedere’s upcoming 40th Anniversary, we are offering £6500 breast enlargement operations for the total sum of £3400 per operation to the first 50 applicants. (T&Cs apply). Call the Belvedere Clinic NOW for further information”.
IssueThe ASA received two complaints from members of the public, who challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible because it advertised an offer for cosmetic surgery which was limited to the first 50 applicants.
ResponseThe Belvedere Clinic Ltd said they had taken steps to address the concerns of the complainants.
The CAP Code required marketing communications to be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. The ASA considered that although it would not necessarily be irresponsible to offer promotions for surgical procedures, marketers would need to take particular care when executing and administering them.
We considered that cosmetic surgery should be portrayed as something which required time and thought from consumers, due to the seriousness of a decision to undertake an invasive medical procedure. We considered that by limiting the promotion to the first 50 applicants, and urging potential consumers to “Call the Belvedere clinic NOW”, the ad created an undue sense of urgency for potential consumers to respond immediately. Although we welcomed The Belvedere Clinic’s willingness to engage with our investigation and make changes to their advertising, because that sense of undue urgency to respond immediately had been created, we considered that the ad had not been prepared in a socially responsible manner, and therefore concluded the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).
We told The Belvedere Clinic Ltd to ensure that future ads were prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society by not creating an undue sense of urgency for consumers considering cosmetic surgery.