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The ASA bans Cosmedicare ad for irresponsibly 'trivialising' cosmetic surgery


By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

April 2, 2019 | 3 min read

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a radio ad from the cosmetic surgery company Cosmedicare after a listener questioned whether it exploited young people's insecurities about their bodies.

The ASA ban Cosmedicare ad for 'trivialising' cosmetic surgery decisions

The ASA ban Cosmedicare ad for 'trivialising' cosmetic surgery decisions

The radio ad was heard in January and featured a female character composing a letter to a bar owner.

The voice-over stated: "Dear Sir, apologies for Saturday night's incident at your fine establishment. To explain, I had to show off my new Cosmedicare body because as they say: "If you've got it; flaunt it' - so I did, with a belly dance, on your bar."

The women continued: "I'll pay for the damage and would love to apologise in person to that gorgeous bartender of yours, wherever he's recovering?"

The ad finishes with another voice stating: "For your free cosmetic surgery consultation, 3D scan and price promise quote Cosmedicare what will the new you do?"

The ASA received a complaint that challenged whether the ad was harmful and irresponsible because it linked social confidence and attractiveness to cosmetic surgery.

In response, Cosmedicare said the radio ad was: "a light-hearted, anecdotal scenario about a woman who felt good after having cosmetic surgery done."

It said it did not feel the ad had the capacity to exploit young people's insecurities about their bodies, and its only intention was to dramatise cosmetic surgery's transformational benefits.

The ASA decided to pull the ad because it felt that the messaging suggested the woman only displayed that behaviour because she felt more confident and attractive after having cosmetic surgery.

Due to the scenario described, where the woman had a new lease of life from cosmetic surgery, the ASA felt it risked playing on young people's insecurities about their bodies.

In recent years, an increasing number of cosmetic surgery ads have come on to the ASA's radar. In July of last year, the ASA met with the NHS to discuss whether current regulations were doing enough to protect young people from ads that could fuel body insecurity.

The issue came into the spotlight amid criticism of the cosmetic surgery campaigns that ran during ITV's hit reality show, Love Island. However, it wasn't until October that the ASA banned an ad.

The ads were from the cosmetic surgery brand, Mya, and ran during Love Island. They showed young women posing for photos, dancing and enjoying a group holiday in Ibiza, and prompted 17 complaints.

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