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ASA bans two Botox ads

Dermaskin Clinics and HB Health forced to remove promotions from website homepages
ASA logo

The UK's Advertising Standard Authority has forced two private healthcare clinics to remove adverts for the drug Botox from their website homepages.

Both Wales-based Dermaskin Clinics and London's HB Health were judged to have breached the ASA code, which bans advertising a prescription-only medicine to the public.

The Independent Healthcare Advisory Service (IHAS) challenged each company's reference to Botox on its respective website homepage. Clicking on either homepage link took users to a separate page explaining how Botox was commonly used as a beauty treatment.

In response HB Health said it removed the reference to 'Botox' from its home page and replaced it with 'wrinkle softening treatment'. However, the company defended its initial promotion by claiming that references to Botox were extremely common within the beauty industry and that many websites for clinics contained similar content.

Dermaskin Clinics also agreed to remove the reference to Botox from their homepage, while also defending itself by saying the Botox section, linked to from the homepage, included a statement regarding the requirement to attend a consultation with a healthcare professional to determine the suitability of Botox.

In both cases, the ASA was not happy with Dermaskin simply removing the homepage reference to Botox as the page linked to in each case still described Botox and its potential application.

“In order to comply with the CAP Code, the consultation itself needed to be the subject of the ad and only referencing Botox as a potential outcome of that consultation,” said the ASA.

The ASA also argued that because Botox references needed to be presented within the context of a consultation, website advertisements should not provide separate information on Botox which could be navigated to directly, without consumers also viewing information about the consultation process.

As well as banning both ads, the ASA also told both companies to 'take special care when referencing Botox in the future'.

28th January 2014

From: Marketing

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