Two sales promotions on Venus Beauty Lounge's, a beauty salon, Facebook page offering Botox and other cosmetic treatments.
a. A sales promotion stated "Giving away one treatment of the winners choice at 3500 likes. 3 area of Botox or lip filler worth £175 each. What you need to do. 1 - Like the page venus beauty lounge page not this post remember. 2 - share (so its on your wall. 3 - put your full name so we can find you. Good luck winner picked at 3500 [sic]".
b. A post stated "Have lips and botox at the same time for £325 Saving £25 or naso folds and botox at the same time for £340 Saving £35 [sic]".
The complainant challenged whether both ads breached the Code because they advertised Botox, a prescription only medicine.
Venus Beauty Lounge explained that the competition winner would have a consultation with a GP before the treatment and that the beautician was qualified to adminster Botox. They explained that they had not been aware that it was prohibited to promote or advertise Botox and they had now removed both ads. Following notification of the complaint, they removed the posts concerned. They said they were willing to act on advice on how they could advertise their treatments in line with the Code.
Facebook said it had removed the page because it violated their terms which prohibited page content from promoting the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals.
The ASA understood the advertising of prescription-only medicines (POMs) to the general public was prohibited by the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMRs) and that was reflected in CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 12.12 12.12 Prescription-only medicines or prescription-only medical treatments may not be advertised to the public. However, we further understood that certain types of content that could be characterised as reference material or announcements of a factual and informative nature were not covered under the scope of HMR’s definition of advertising and, as a result, could not be considered advertisements for the purposes of rule 12.12 12.12 Prescription-only medicines or prescription-only medical treatments may not be advertised to the public. We therefore assessed the claims within the sales promotions to establish whether they were of that nature and if they could be considered as advertising for the purposes of rule 12.12 12.12 Prescription-only medicines or prescription-only medical treatments may not be advertised to the public.
We welcomed Venus Beauty Lounge's willingness to work to amend their ads and that once they had been notified of the complaint, they took prompt action to remove the posts. Their Facebook page included a number of posts detailing the beauty treatments they offered and the posts complained about offered Botox treatments as a prize and at a discounted price. We noted there were no other claims about Botox within those posts and therefore, we considered the references to Botox constituted advertising as defined by the HMRs and for the purposes of the CAP Code.
We understood Botox was a trading name for a form of a specific botulinum toxin type A product and that it was a POM. The advertising of POMs to the general public was prohibited and therefore, we considered that by offering a Botox treatment as a competition prize and at a discounted price, Venus Beauty Lounge’s two Facebook posts amounted to the advertising of a POM. Therefore, we concluded the ads breached the Code.
The sales promotions breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 12.12 12.12 Prescription-only medicines or prescription-only medical treatments may not be advertised to the public. (Medicines).
The sales promotions must not appear again in their current form. We told Venus Beauty Lounge not to advertise Botox again.