A post on the advertisers’ Facebook page referred to the following:
“… Thank you for allowing us to share these photos from before and after your Anti-Wrinkle Injection Treatment. You look beautiful and fresh faced as always (before and after). Glowing and line free – We’re proud that you’re happy with your result!
The post was accompanied by before and after treatment photographs of the Client.
In the before treatment pictures in each case the Client’s face was set in a scrunched up expression
In the after treatment pictures the Client’s face was set in a natural relaxed expression.
The complainant considered the posts in question to be misleading. She said it was her opinion that the before treatment photographs had featured the Client with scrunched up features to make it appear that post treatment, when the Client appeared with a relaxed expression, that all the lines and crevices had disappeared as a result of having the anti-wrinkle treatment.
The advertisers said that in the before treatment photographs, the patient had been activating her muscles and depicting the wrinkles which had formed due to the movement of the muscles. They said that when showing the effect of anti-wrinkle injections, it was necessary to depict clearly the movement which had been reduced and affected.
The advertisers said that in the after treatment photographs the patient was depicted as trying to activate the muscles concerned but was unable to do so. They said that the anti-wrinkle product had reduced the muscle movement which in turn portrayed a complete reduction/eradication of her wrinkles.
In conclusion the advertisers said that the photographs were genuine unaltered medical records.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee considered that when comparing ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs, care should be taken so as not to exaggerate the benefits of the treatment concerned. They noted that in the case of anti-wrinkle injections, the desired outcome was the reduction of the appearance of wrinkles, rather than restriction of the ability to, for example, furrow a brow to emphasise wrinkles. They considered that the use of the ‘before’ photographs in this case had not depicted the normal appearance of the wrinkles and was therefore likely to mislead as to the actual impact of the treatment on the appearance of the wrinkles. In the circumstances, the Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Section 4.1 of the Code.
The advertisement should not appear in its current format again.