The reality star Jemma Lucy has received an ad ban from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after an Instagram post promoting a weight loss supplement received 25 complaints.
Best known for her role in 'Ex on the Beach' Lucy has now established herself as an Instagram influencer. In the post which appeared in May, Lucy is seen sat at a table in a bikini and socks, holding a mug.
The text that accompanied the photo read: "I've been staying in shape with my go-to @skinnycaffe products. I love the Coffee's [sic] Hot Chocolate’s [sic] and the Thermosyn capsules are amazing! I love to use them as me and some of the girls have been seeing great results and they work with or without exercise. You can lose up to 7lbs in 7 days with Thermosyn. Right now you can claim your first packet of Thermosyn free by clicking here” and linked to the theskinnycaffe.com website.
Following the post, the ASA received 25 complaints which challenged it for various reasons. Some questioned whether the post was in breach of the code because it was not obviously identifiable as an ad.
Others found an issue with the fact that Lucy is pregnant and challenged whether the ad irresponsibly encouraged the consumption of weight loss products in pregnancy.
Lastly, the ASA challenged the claim 'you can lose up to 7lbs in 7 days' because it implied a rate or amount of weight loss as a result of consuming the drink, which would be a breach of the rules.
In response to the issue that the post was not obviously identifiable as an ad, the White Star Key Group (which owns The Skinny Caffe) said it knew Lucy personally and that she has posted it as a favour to a friend.
Whether the post irresponsibly encouraged weight loss products for pregnant women, it argued that Lucy did not imply that she used the product while she carried her baby. It also said the website stated that the products were not suitable for women who are expecting.
Addressing the '7lbs in 7 days' challenge, Skinny Caffe said that paying customers had informed it of such weight loss results.
The ASA said that although the post was made as a favour for a friend, it must be clear of its commercial intent if it's not obvious in the context.
Although it acknowledged that the post did not make express reference to pregnancy, due to press coverage, her followers would be aware and due to the phrasing of the post, it could be seen to be encouraging the consumption of weight loss drinks while expecting.
Finally, according to a regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods, the post was in breach of the CAP Code.
The ad watchdog, therefore, told The White Star Key Group and Lucy that the ad must not appear in the form complained of and warned Lucy to ensure that in future, her ads are obviously identifiable as marketing communications.
The regulator has been heavily cracking down on misleading influencer posts over the past two years. Last month, it penalised a sleeping pill brand Sanofi for paying a micro-influencer to endorse medicine.
Last week, teamed up with ITV to create a "cheat sheet" that will help this year's Love Island contestants navigate social media ad rules when they leave the villa. At the heart of the "advertising survival kit" is the message that Love Islanders should be transparent with followers when the images or videos they post on platforms like Twitter and Instagram have been paid for by brands.