Responsible cosmetic surgery advertising post Keogh banned by glossy magazines for not being perfect enough

Posted on the 17 May 2013 at 10:08

This week a national cosmetic surgery chain, MYA Cosmetic Surgery has been outraged that a proposed advert for its cosmetic surgery services has been refused by a series of online women’s magazines who felt that the images of women featured simply weren’t ‘perfect enough’.

It beggars belief to hear this when the cosmetic industry as a whole is having to take a long hard look at itself and its practices following a recent government review. Add to this that the findings and issues raised in the review have prompted action from another well known women’s magazine Marie Claire to organise its #TakeAGoodLook campaign to ensure that women are fully informed and empowered when considering cosmetic surgery and treatments and are not mislead.

In the recently published review into cosmetic interventions in England, the committee led by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh made some recommendations in relation to the advertising of cosmetic interventions and surgery and called on more responsible action from providers stating that it viewed certain types of advertising including financial deals and TV show or celebrity endorsement as ‘socially irresponsible’.

MYA Banner Advert Banned MYA Banner Advert Banned

MYA Cosmetic Surgery, whose have in the past promoted their services using celebrity endorsements from TV shows such as The Only Way is Essex and felt the need post Keogh to change tact, submitted adverts to a number of online publications that featured the most common problem areas of their patients, only to be told to replace the images with something considered more aesthetically palatable.

The adverts included photographs of body areas of real women with real concerns pinching at their ‘muffin tops’, ‘jelly bellies’, and ‘bingo wings’, illustrating the problems that MYA report are the most commonly bemoaned treatment areas for their Vaser Liposuction procedure.

The adverts featured a banner asking, “Can’t shift your…?” above the pictures, before going on to offer information about the procedure.

Advertising teams at several well known magazines rejected the images, requesting that the body area shots be replaced with the body of a slim, tanned model in a bikini!

Michael Tilley, MYA’s Marketing Manager and the ideas man behind the campaign said:

“We are trying to respond to the Sir Bruce Keogh Review by using real women with real problems in our promotions rather than celebrity patients but it seems that the publishers cannot move away from the images of Victoria’s Secrets-esque bikini models. What the magazines objected to was posting pictures of models with real problem areas.”

MYA have since replaced the ‘before’ images with simply the names of the area, refusing to replace the images with the models requested, but it could be argued that they have still given in to the magazine advertising team by not taking their marketing spend elsewhere unless they allow them to show pictures of real women.

If the industry is really going to ‘clean up’ its act and promote the elective, yet still medical treatments and surgeries that it provides in a socially responsible and ethical way then it must have the support of the mainstream media and publications who have the public audience. Much like issues seen in the fashion industry in recent years with size zero models and photoshopped images, cosmetic clinics can’t ‘do the right’ thing if the glossy magazines persist in the notion of perfect imagery of the female form which misleads the woman in the street.

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