A TV campaign for spot cream Proactiv skincare, featuring celebrities including Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, has been banned by the UK advertising watchdog.
The ad, shown on teleshopping channels, features Katy Perry telling viewers the spot cream helped to clear up her skin problem and another series of ads shown on the website include Justin Bieber approving the items.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned the commercials in Britain after receiving a complaint that the UK version does not contain the same active ingredient to the one used in the American product.
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Guthy-Renker (GRUK), the direct marketing company for Proactiv, said the celebrities had signed statements saying they had been sent the UK formulation to use. The company said that the “extremely detailed talent agreements” it held with the celebrities meant that the endorsements were “factually accurate and representative of their honest opinions”.
The statements said the endorsers Perry and Bieber had used the UK version of the Proactiv products for “several weeks” during 2008; in two instances during 2009; and in two instances during 2010.
GRUK also claims Proactiv Solution products had only one formulation, used both in America and in the UK, but with different brand names and packaging.
However the ASA said the authenticity of the testimonials was not being challenged, only whether they were relevant to the Proactiv products available to the UK audience, where the ads were targeted.
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The ASA said the TV campaign appeared in 2011 meaning viewers would assume the celebrity continued to benefit from using Proactiv, when in fact they had used it at least a year ago and in some instances several years ago.
The watchdog banned the ads, noting that while five of the seven celebs made statements saying they had used UK Proactiv products ‘for several weeks’, the ads implied the benefits came from continual use.
Proactiv, which went on sale in Boots in February, has huge cult following in the US with Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne and Elle Macpherson all signed up to promote the virtues of the pimple cream.