Huge increase in complaints to ASA

14 06 2010

The Advertising Standards Authority has reported a huge increase in complaints about health and beauty adverts over the past year.

The Guardian reports:

“A media focus on airbrushing in health and beauty ads, a cause championed by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson who pushed for the banning of an Olay ad featuring Twiggy, saw a 52% increase in complaints about campaigns in the sector.”

We hope this is the start of a new movement to demand honesty in advertising of health and beauty products.

Most recently, we complained about a L’Oreal foundation advert – more news on that soon.


Join the campaign for honesty in advertising

22 12 2009

A huge thank you to everyone who has so far supported our Real Women campaign for honesty in advertising!

You may have seen our initial success last week, when the ASA ruled that the Olay Definity advert featuring a retouched image of Twiggy was misleading.  However, the campaign continues, because the ASA refused to accept that the retouching was socially irresponsible.  You can read the full ASA ruling here:

This is simply not good enough. We now need to bombard the ASA with individual complaints about a whole variety of adverts so that it is forced to widen its investigation.

1. Choose an advert you would like to complain about and note where you saw it (e.g. magazine name, date and page number or billboard location). 

2. Compose your complaint, with reference to the relevant sections as appropriate (see below).

3. Send your complaint to is: ASA, Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn, London, WC1 V6QT or by email to (if possible, please copy in

Together I hope we will be able to force the ASA to address this issue properly. Remember that it only takes one complaint to push the ASA into an investigation – so taking the time to send an email can really make a difference.

Thanks again, and merry Christmas!


Jo Swinson MP


Advertising Codes:
Section 6 – Honesty: “marketers should not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience of consumers”
Section 7 – Truthfulness: 7.1 “no marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise”
Section 9 – Fear and Distress: 9.1 “no marketing communication should cause fear or distress without good reason”
Section 47 – Children: 47.2 marketing communications addressed to, targeted at or featuring children should contain “nothing that is likely to result in their physical, mental or moral harm