Published: 05 May 2022  (Updated: 05 May 2022)

ASA Ruling on Misleading Social Media Advert

On 4 May 2022, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a ruling against a social media advertisement for a skincare product with exaggerated imagery of the product effects and misleading representation of testimonials.

The images of the model using the product represented a near-instantaneous and dramatic clearing of their skin blemishes.  The ASA considered that consumers would understand those images as objective visual claims of the product’s efficacy.  The impression was reinforced by the inclusion of a ‘before and after’ comparison.  Some images also appeared as though they had been produced by reviewers or customers.  The footage had been noticeably sped-up, but the product’s effect was still depicted as occurring across a single, brief sitting; giving the impression that the consumers would achieve the same results in a similar amount of time.

Exaggerating the performance of a product with post-production techniques can not only be misleading to the consumer but also go against the Honest criterion of the Common Criteria for Cosmetic Claims Regulation.  The company in question also did not provide evidence to the ASA to substantiate the claims, going against the Evidential Support criterion of the Common Criteria.

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