ASA Rules Against Trivialising Plastic Surgery Abroad in Turkey

Danielle Lowe
By Danielle Lowe

Danielle Lowe is the Marketing Manager for ConsultingRoom.com, (www.consultingroom.com) the UK’s largest aesthetic information website. 


The ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) has investigated whether an ad on Facebook for a “Health and vacation together” in Turkey was irresponsible.

The ad, which proffered a “Summer sale” and an “all-inclusive package” also included a “luxury hotel, VIP transfer, and lifetime online support” and referenced a separate package, called a “mommy makeover”, which consisted of a tummy tuck, breast surgery and liposuction. The ASA considered five points overall, including whether the ad trivialised surgery, whether the term “Summer sale” pressured customers into purchasing surgery, and whether the term “mommy makeover” exploited new mothers’ insecurities around body image.

On the trivialisation point, the ASA considered that the ad focussed much more on the “holiday” aspect rather than the surgery, referring to the product as a “vacation” and focussing on transfers, hotels etc. Ultimately, the ASA found that the ad was in breach of the Code, by (amongst other things) detracting from the seriousness of surgery and thereby trivialising the decision to have it.

The second case study concerns a story on Instagram, also for surgery in Turkey. The ad referenced a “NEW YEAR CAMPAIGN” for a “Brazilian butt lift” and “360 liposuction” that was “€ All Inclusive 2400”, and featured a hotel emoji, an ambulance emoji, and an Istanbul location icon, with very little information about the actual package.

Once again, the ASA considered (amongst other points) whether the ad trivialised the decision to have surgery. When reaching their decision, the ASA considered that the ad had a festive and upbeat feel to it, and the visuals and wording focussed on the “feel good” element of physical transformation, which they thought was likely to detract from the seriousness of surgery. The ASA ruled that the ad put cosmetic surgery in a purely positive light and suggested that the decision could be undertaken as lightly as a New Year’s Resolution or holiday. Ultimately, all three complaint points were upheld.

Marketers should be cautious with their marketing and avoid anything that could take advantage of people, (especially vulnerable groups), pressure customers with time-limited offers, or shift focus onto ancillary aspects, such as hotel stays or flights, rather than the surgery or intervention itself.

Advertisers should also bear in mind the invasiveness of their procedure could also make a difference to acceptability – the more invasive the procedure, the less trivial and flippant the ad should be.

Read the full story on the ASA website.

If you’re looking for more information on this topic, you should find our guidance on Cosmetic Surgery and Cosmetic Interventions: Social Responsibility useful and free and confidential advice on non-broadcast campaigns is available by contacting the CAP Copy Advice team.

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