A press ad for dentistry practice Dental Suite, seen on 15 June 2017, included a testimonial from a patient, “Ricardo”, who received “same day teeth” treatment. The picture included a before and after photo of his teeth at 9 am and 3 pm. The photo at 9 am showed the teeth were crooked with discoloured gums, while the teeth at 3 pm were straight with healthier-looking gums.
The complainant challenged whether the before and after photos were genuine and gave a misleading representation of what could be achieved with the treatment.
Dental Suite provided the patient’s consent form, X-ray images of the patient’s jaw and his signed statement alongside the images of his teeth that stated his natural teeth were removed, dental implants were placed into his jaw and new arches of teeth were attached on the same day. Dental Suite confirmed that the images had not been airbrushed or photo-shopped, and accurately reflected the results achieved by the procedure.
Dental Suite also provided a further 12 before and after photos, from patients who had undergone the same procedure. Dental Suite explained that the procedure secured new teeth into the jaw with the use of implants. Ahead of the procedure, a CT scan and diagnostics produced a 3D image that allowed the surgeons and patients to see where the implants would fit. On the day, the patients were sedated and their jaw prepared for the implants. Once the implants were secured, the new teeth, made prior to the appointment, were then fitted on top.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand from the ad that the photos were genuine photos of a patient’s teeth before and after the advertised surgery, and that the photos accurately represented what could generally be achieved through the treatment.
We assessed the evidence provided by Dental Suite. We noted that the patient in question had provided his signed confirmation that the images were genuine photos of his teeth on the same day before and after the treatment. Dental Suite also provided 12 other before and after photos of the same day treatment, which showed similar transformations in patients’ teeth with some of the teeth prior to the treatment in significantly worse condition than those depicted in the ad. We considered that those 12, other before and after photos indicated that the photo in the ad was generally representative of what could be achieved with the treatment. For those reasons, we concluded that the before and after photos were genuine and that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under 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), 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Exaggeration), 3.45 3.45 Marketers must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it. 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. (Endorsement and testimonials), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.