The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a number of ads from weight loss brands for promoting diet products in an irresponsible manner.
The protein shot maker, v24 and ex-Love Island personality Georgia Harrison were pulled up for an Instagram post promoting ‘V24 Gummies.’ The paid-for ad claimed the low-calorie sweeties help reduce cravings, reduce fat absorption and contains glucomannan which the post claimed 'is clinically proven to help with weight loss.'
After the post emerged, the reality star had to disable the comments section, after the partnership incited a tirade of negative comments criticising the influencer.
The ad watchdog has also pulled up BoomBod, Lauren Goodger and Katie Price for posts they made promoting BoomBod weight loss products on the brand account and both the influencers' pages.
Price’s post was a before and after image, seemingly capturing the transformational effect of the Boombod weight loss drink. The post read ‘Getting loads of questions about the @boombod program and how I like it, and it’s no secret. I can’t get enough of it! Quick & Easy weight loss is great, but doing it in a healthy way is key. These shots have a bunch of vitamins, use a clinically proved natural fibre, contain zero laxatives and most importantly… they give results every time.’
Coined ‘Lie-po’, Katie Price was slammed by fans after they claimed she had recently had liposuction at a Turkish beauty clinic; dispelling the claim that her weight lose was as a result of the Boombod drinks.
A post by Lauren Goodger showed her standing by a fireplace in athletic clothes holding BoomBod packaging. The image was accompanied with the text: ‘Can’t believe these amazing results I’ve gotten with @boombod’s 7-day achiever. It works so well to decrease bloating and get rid of those late-night cravings. This difference I’ve noticed from using this stuff is amazing.’
The ASA received a number of complaints for both cases concerning the weight loss products, challenged for promoting diet products in an irresponsible manner. Boombod was also pulled up for referring to the rate or amount of weight loss obtained by its product, which is banned by regulation.
Despite objections from Protein Revolution, the company that manufactures the v24 product, the ASA banned the ads. It told the company not to make references to general benefits of food for overall good health unless the claims are accompanied by a relevant authorised health claim. It deemed the ads did not do this.
Boombod did not attempt to defend itself and responded to the ASA to say it would remove the ads, as well as the timeframe mentioned in the ads. Goodger argued that she had not stated that she lost weight because of the product, but that it was helped her with hunger and bloating, while Price argued that the caption communicated her thoughts on the product.
The ASA told Boombod to not make references to general benefits of good for overall good health or health-related well-being unless the claims are accompanied by a relevant authorised health claim.
Such posts raise questions as to the social media has on adolescent girls, who are particularly vulnerable. In a lot of cases, fears over body image is only exacerbated by posts that share unrealistic images of women.
In the UK, data from the NHS points to increasing levels of ‘body dissatisfaction’ among teen girls, as well as insecurity and low self-esteem about their appearance, while rates of stress, anxiety and depression are rising sharply within this demographic – a trend that’s far less pronounced among boys of the same age – and coincides with an explosion in the use of social media.