ASA comes down heavy on ‘slim’ body contouring ad

An ad for a laser body contouring treatment which suggested that even thin people would benefit from losing weight has been battered by the ad watchdog, which branded it “irresponsible” for “trivialising the procedure”.
The print ad for UK-based ABC Lasers, which appeared in Aesthetics Journal, showed the mid-section of a slender woman wearing briefs, and pinching some flesh from her stomach. The caption alongside read: “If you can pinch it, we can treat it.”
However, one reader who believed the ad implied that the model needed to undergo body contouring despite being slim, rifled off a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority claiming it was irresponsible.
The watchdog’s investigation also challenged whether the “If you can pinch it, we can treat it” claim, and found that the emphasis on speed trivialised the decision to undergo body contouring.
Aesthetics Journal said the publication was for healthcare professionals and others from inside the industry, and therefore would not put pressure on individuals to have the treatment.
But the ASA said it was a concern if medical professionals passed on to consumers the impression that body contouring could benefit people who were slim, or that the decision to undergo the procedure was one that could be made quickly.
In its ruling, the ASA stated: “We considered the photograph, which showed the model’s pronounced hip bone and her briefs gaping away from her body because of the bone’s prominence, suggested that she was particularly slim.
“We considered the image nevertheless suggested, because she was able to pinch flesh from her tummy between her thumb and forefinger, along with the text, that she would still benefit from body contouring.
“We considered that the message that such slim people would benefit from weight loss treatment and the targeting of the ad towards those who were already slim was irresponsible.”
It ruled that the ad must not appear again, and warned ABC Lasers about its future advertising activity.

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