Cosmetic surgery provider Transform Medical Group – which operates under the strapline “Go Beyond Beautiful” – has been battered for an Instagram post which pushed Black Friday deals on breast implants.
The post, which featured before and after shots of a woman showing the results of breast augmentation, stated: “If you have been considering breast surgery and haven’t yet booked, there is no better time. We have Black Friday prices on breast surgery starting from just £5990. Click the link on our bio to book your free consultation”.
The caption ended with the hashtags “#Blackfriday” and “#Breastaugmentation”.
But one consumer, who believed the offer of time-limited “Black Friday prices” pressured consumers into purchasing surgery, challenged the Advertising Standards Authority to investigate whether the ad was socially irresponsible.
In response to the ASA inquiry, perhaps unsurprisingly, Transform said it did not believe that the Instagram post was inappropriate, irresponsible or pressured consumers into booking surgery but was simply targeted at consumers who may have already been considering surgery.
It insisted that it ensured consent via a two-stage process which had a cooling off period of at least two weeks between the stages to allow a patient to reflect on the decision, and said patients were given a detailed and holistic understanding of the clinical nature of the intervention they were enquiring about prior to any form of surgery.
Transform also claimed to respect the right of a patient to change their mind up to the point of the procedure starting.
In its ruling, the ASA said that although it would not necessarily be irresponsible to offer promotions for surgical procedures, marketers must take particular care when executing and administering them.
In this case, the watchdog stated that while many people who saw the ad were likely to have had an interest in cosmetic procedures, not everyone who saw it would have already been considering breast surgery.
While many retailers ran “Black Friday” promotions which lasted for several days or weeks around that time, the ASA considered consumers would, in the absence of a specific timeframe in the ad, interpret the refence to “Black Friday” to mean that there was a strictly time-limited opportunity to take up the offer.
By advertising “Black Friday” prices for surgery and by stating “there is no better time”, with no indication of a specific time frame, consumers would be rushed to make a decision for fear of losing out on the offer.
Because the ad created a sense of undue urgency to respond quickly, the watchdog considered that the ad had not been prepared in a socially responsible manner, and therefore concluded that it breached the Code on social responsibility.
Banning the ad from running again in that form, the regulator warned Transform Hospital Group about future advertising activity.
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