A Botox ad aimed at helping mums ‘dazzle’ on the school run has been banned for exploiting women’s insecurities.
Beauty comparison site Glowday posted an article on its website in September 2021, showing a woman alongside a small child carrying a rucksack.
It set out a list of cosmetic procedures for mothers who want to ‘dazzle at the school gates’ and ‘feel confident and self-assured’, alongside a link to Botox treatments.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled that the ‘irresponsible’ ad exploited women’s insecurities around aging, and perpetuated the harmful gender stereotype that women should look a certain way.
The Hereford-based company hit out at the ruling, while campaigners called the ad ‘absolutely appalling’.
Glowday’s ‘Back to School Botox’ page was banned for exploiting women’s insecurities and perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes
The post, written by Kelly Davies on September 3, 2021, said: ‘The start of the new school term has an extra edge of anticipation for us mums this year.
‘It feels like the beginning of normality after endless lockdowns, bubbles, lateral flow tests and home-schooling, with women bearing the brunt of it all.
‘So there’s a few ideas if you are one of those Mums who wants to dazzle at the school gates, or just a Mum who wants to dazzle, or just an ordinary woman who want to feel more like herself again!’
It added: ‘Over a quarter of women say lockdown has aged them and are turning to non-surgical aesthetic treatments to put the spring back in their step and perhaps feel more like themselves on the school run.’
This was followed by an image of a woman smiling, dressed in high heels and a dress.
It added: ‘All these women really want is to look like the very best version of themselves, and feel confident and self-assured. And that’s exactly what aesthetic treatments can do for us.’
WHAT IS BOTOX?
Botox injections relax the muscles in the face to smooth out lines and wrinkles.
It’s not permanent — it usually lasts for around 3 months.
In the UK, the cost of Botox injections can vary from about £100 to £350 for each treatment, depending on the clinic and the area being treated.
Botox injections for cosmetic reasons are not available on the NHS.
The procedure, which usually only lasts 10 minutes, involves having botulinum toxin injected into the face muscles using a very fine needle.
It then takes around two to three days to start working and up to three weeks to see the full effect.
Side effects include, headaches, a frozen look, weakness in the face and bruising, swelling and redness where the needles went into the skin.
However, Botox can also be used to treat medical conditions.
These include abnormal contractions of the eye, conditions that cause muscle pain and stiffness —such as cerebral palsy — and excessive sweating.
The text also said that Botox was ‘by far the most population poison of choice’ for ‘mums on the school run’.
A link was then provided to book treatments, including Botox.
In a ruling published this week, the ASA noted that the ad focused only on women, particularly mothers, and suggested that a cosmetic procedure would boost their confidence and wellbeing.
The ad also implied that ‘it was necessary for women to look a certain way to be confident taking their children to school’, the ASA said.
‘Therefore, we considered the ad exploited women’s insecurities around aging, and perpetuated the harmful gender stereotype that women should look a certain way,’ it added.
In its response to the ASA probe, Glowday said ‘many women’ had booked treatments following the school holidays and it was an ‘incorrect stereotype’ that insecure women sought cosmetic treatment.
The ASA also upheld a complaint from a member of the public that the ad should be banned because Botox is a prescription-only-medicine, which can’t legally be advertised to the UK public.
Dawn Knight, of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, a body dedicated to promoting good practise in the cosmetic industry, told MailOnline: ‘Social media has an awful lot to answer for when it comes to people’s self esteem and body image and in particular targeting new mums.
‘It’s absolutely appalling. It is illegal to advertise prescription-only medicine directly to the public. It’s irresponsible.
‘It’s a really worrying emerging trend and we are seeing a lot of offers of multiple procedures in mummy makeovers.’
She said mothers are ‘under enough pressure without the extra pressure of physical appearance’.
‘It is a really really irresponsible way of driving traffic,’ Ms Knight added.
Glowday said it disagreed with the ASA’s decision.
Hannah Russell, its founder, told MailOnline: ‘We disagree that we were advertising Botox, primarily due to the fact that consumers are unable to purchase Botox or even book Botox treatments on Glowday.
Botox, which lasts three to four months, works by relaxing the muscles in the face to smooth out lines and wrinkles
‘We have no commercial interest in advertising any brand of botulinum toxin, instead, we aim to provide consumers with unbiased information about a whole range of aesthetic and skin treatments.
‘The irony of the ASA ruling is that whilst thousands of unregulated, unaccountable non-medic injectors continue to dangerously administer fillers and toxin and promote their services across social media and the internet, without recourse, responsible companies like Glowday and its accountable practitioners that are challenged.’
An ASA spokesperson told Mail Online: ‘Following legislation, our rules make it clear that prescription-only medicines, including Botox, cannot be advertised to the general public.
‘Our rules also make it clear that ads mustn’t exploit people’s insecurities around body image.
‘Advertisers shouldn’t suggest that happiness or wellbeing depends on conforming to a particular physical appearance, or having a gender stereotypical body type or features.
‘As we considered that this ad exploited women’s insecurities around aging, and perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes around how women should look, we banned the ad and told Glowday to ensure that future ads don’t exploit people’s insecurities.’
Botox is the most popular brand name of botulinum toxin.