A TV ad for The Tanning Shop, seen on 3 March 2023, began with a woman typing at a computer in an office. Her phone notification alert sounded and a text notification graphic appeared on screen that stated, “12:30pm The Tanning Shop”. A voice-over, in the style of an airport public address system stated, "This is the final boarding call for Jemma Jones, please proceed to The Tanning Shop immediately.” The woman grabbed her coat and ran out of the office and into a Tanning Shop salon. Superimposed text stated, “Over 18’s [sic] only […] T&C’s [sic] apply […]”. The voice-over continued “With stand-up, lie-downs, spray on, and your first tan for free, this is your final call for the Tanning Shop.” The woman then walked back into her office wearing a yellow blazer, sunglasses, and with glowing skin.
Four complainants challenged whether the ad encouraged the irresponsible use of ultraviolet (UV) tanning equipment.
The Feel Good Group Ltd t/a The Tanning Shop said they complied with the Sunbeds (Regulation) 2010 Act, and exceeded all legal requirements and industry guidelines for safe and responsible UV tanning. Their services had a strict over-18s policy and included several in-store safety features, such as free eye protection, verification of a customer’s skin type, and monitoring of the frequency and length of customers’ tanning sessions. They highlighted the terms and conditions referred to in the ad and emphasised they primarily focused on responsible tanning. They said their website featured multiple pages on safe and responsible tanning.
Clearcast explained that they had confirmed at the ad’s pre-production stage that The Tanning Shop adhered to the Sunbeds (Regulation) 2010 Act. Following assessment of The Tanning Shop’s terms and conditions, they were satisfied the advertiser took ample steps to ensure customers tanned responsibly. Those steps included reviewing the customer’s skin type, ensuring the most responsible tanning options were chosen, biometric tracking to ensure customers did not tan more than once in 24 hours, and a strict policy prohibiting tanning by certain groups – for example those under the age of 18, and pregnant women. Clearcast said in their view the ad did not encourage irresponsible use of sunbeds and noted that the ad included superimposed text that stated, “Over 18’s [sic]” and “T&C’s [sic] apply”, and a restriction had been placed on the ad so that it could not be broadcast in or adjacent to programming that would likely have particular appeal to under 18-year-olds.
The ASA considered that while the ad highlighted the service in a light-hearted manner, it did not include anything that directly encouraged irresponsible tanning. The ad described the Tanning Shop's full range of services and featured someone hurrying to a salon and appearing refreshed afterwards, with a different set of clothes and new hairstyle, as well as glowing skin. The overall impression was that they had experienced a makeover at lunchtime that had impacted their confidence and contentment. There was no suggestion that they had tanned excessively.
The ad included reference to the advertisers’ terms and conditions, which outlined that they provided consultations to determine consumers’ skin type before recommending how they could tan responsibly, and the refusal of customers who were particularly vulnerable to UV overexposure. That type of consultation was also conducted on new customers booking UV sunbed sessions. The ad also made clear that those who were under the age of 18 were prohibited from using The Tanning Shop’s service.
For those reasons, we concluded that the ad had not encouraged irresponsible use of UV tanning equipment.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 1.2 (Compliance), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.