Adverts for breast enhancement surgery shown during the reality show Love Island have been banned for being “irresponsible and harmful”.
Among the complaints recorded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) was that the MYA Cosmetic Surgery commercials exploited young women’s insecurities about their bodies, trivialised breast enhancement surgery and portrayed it as aspirational.
The ads showed young women posing, dancing and laughing around a swimming pool, on the beach and on a boat while a voice-over said: “These girls had breast enlargements with MYA and all feel amazing.”
The ASA conceded that the voice-over began by referring to time taken to consider surgery and that no surgical procedure was without risks, but said these statements were inconsistent with the rest of the tone and content.
In its ruling the ASA said: “We considered that the ad went beyond presenting the lifestyle of women who had breast enlargement in a positive light and implied that the women were only able to enjoy the aspirational lifestyle shown, and to be happy with their bodies, because they had undergone that surgery.
“We also considered that the focus on the aspirational lifestyle and the tone of the ad, in combination with the statement ‘join them and thousands more’ – which suggested that it was common to undergo breast enlargement and acted as an
explicit call to action – had the effect of trivialising the decision to undergo that surgery.”
Among those to complain was the Mental health Foundation. Welcoming the ruling its director Isabella Goldie said: “Implying that people can only enjoy body confidence and an aspirational lifestyle by undergoing cosmetic surgery is dangerous and unacceptable.
“All of us, including commercial organisations, have a role to play in strengthening our young people’s resilience.”
For its part MYA said it did not believe that the ads trivialised the decision to undergo surgery, but said that in future it would try to “get the right balance as it is not our intention to cause any upset or distress.
“We are also attempting to engage with one of the key mental health organisations involved in the complaint to seek their input and thoughts around our next campaign. We hope that they will meet with us soon.”