ASA rules against celebrity toxin advertising

31 May 2023

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued a ruling against an aesthetic clinic after it posted promotional material about a celebrity botulinum toxin procedure.

In June 2022, Carl Woods – car dealer and ex-fiancé of reality star Katie Price – posted an Instagram story being injected with botulinum toxin in his forehead by a practitioner based in Essex. This was accompanied by a caption saying, ‘So yesterday I had my anti-wrinkle injection done with Ellie and the best part about it is, it was absolutely pain free and I can’t wait to see the results in two weeks, and I’ll look brand new’, alongside a link to the clinic’s own page.

The complainant debated whether the posts were identifiable as advertisements, and the ASA further challenged them because they were advertising a prescription-only medicine (POM) to the public and used a celebrity to do so.

The clinic in question stated that they were aware that botulinum toxin cannot be advertised as it is a POM, but they thought that referring to it as an ‘anti-wrinkle injection’ would not be in breach. They have agreed to adjust their terminology going forward. Woods said that he was not promoting an aesthetic treatment but was sharing his own personal experience on social media. He confirmed that the posts had since been removed.

The ASA concluded that such advertisements must not appear again, and the clinic must not promote POMs to the general public in future, including through celebrities or reality TV stars.


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