News from Cass Business School

The ugly truth of beauty advertising

Professor Vince Mitchell discusses some of the common complaints made against health and beauty adverts

Thursday, 16 September, 2010

In 2009 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) saw a 52% increase in complaints about health and beauty ads. Tonight on BBC’s Watchdog programme Cass Professor of Consumer Marketing, Vince Mitchell, discussed some of the adverts that typically fall foul of ASA guidelines and explained why cosmetic companies continue to use these tactics despite concerns from consumers.
Consumers of health and beauty products are often highly suggestible because they want to believe that products can make them look younger and healthier. Adverts that faile to meet ASA standards will still appear because they are effective and the sanctions for contravening the code is minimal, often only a written warning or a small fine.
Professor Mitchell identified four features of health and beauty ads that draw complaints:

Professor Mitchell said: "The beauty industry already has a poor reputation and further denigration of trust in advertising and marketing undermines consumer confidence in all advertising claims. On the 1 September, the ASA brought into force its revised codes of practice so any businesses or marketing agencies should make sure they are up to speed on the changes."

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