Johnson and Johnson in trouble over anti-ageing advert

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Advertising, Asa

Johnson and Johnson is the latest cosmetics player to be criticised for its ‘unsubstantiated’ advertising claims.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has asked Johnson and Johnson (J&J) to discontinue its recent print media campaign for an anti-ageing formulation, as it was deemed to be misleading to the consumer.

Misleading statements

J&J’s advert for the RoC CompleteLift face cream claimed the product provides ‘Measurable lift in just 8 weeks’​.

This statement was accompanied by a footnote stating that ‘CompleteLift has been developed to make skin feel firmer and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It has not been proven to have a physical lift effect.’

According to J&J, these two apparently contradictory statements were included in order to highlight the temporary, rather than permanent, lifting effect provided by the product.

However, the ASA disagreed, deciding that readers may misinterpret the statements and be confused by the seemingly opposing sentiments.

Unsubstantiated claims

In addition, the agency decided that the claims made by the US-based giant about the efficacy of the product could not be substantiated.

The advert stated that the product was ‘clinically proven to work in just 8 weeks of use’​, accompanied by a footnote referencing a clinical study.

At the request of the ASA, the company submitted details of the clinical study, which the ASA gave to an expert to consider.

J&J’s clinical study was found to be lacking on a number of counts, according to the ASA, including a lack of information regarding the methodology.

For this reason the agency concluded that the advertisement’s claims could not be substantiated and stated that the advert must not appear again in its current form.

Skin creams are the worst offenders amongst the cosmetic products that breach the ASA’s code, according to figures released by the body earlier this summer.

Out of a 455 beauty adverts that were examined by the ASA last year, overall compliance with the code was 93 per cent compared to only 81 per cent for skin formulations.

The agency described this as ‘somewhat disappointing’ however it said the figures were not so bad as to imply that the industry was not working responsibly.

Related topics: Anti-Aging, Market Trends

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