Plans for government health warnings on ads for private clinics
could result in beauty advertising revenues being slashed next year.
This October the Department of Health will consider the findings of a
Commons select committee report on beauty advertising. The report
slammed beauty ads - many of which promote cosmetic surgery - for being
misleading, particularly where surgeons’ qualifications are concerned.
It also suggested that the Advertising Standards Authority was
’impotent’ to ensure that the ads were honest and decent.
The committee’s recommendation is that every ad should carry a health
warning, in a similar way to cigarette ads. But if such a warning were
made compulsory there is a feeling that it could jeopardise revenues in
the many magazines that carry such ads.
’We are understandably anxious about this,’ Andrew Brown of the
Advertising Association said. ’If all the ads have to carry a warning it
could deter advertisers, and then there’s the question of who pays for
the extra space taken up by the warning. This is a murky area, because
unqualified doctors are allowed to practice in this industry, but we
don’t think putting warnings on the ads is the solution.’
Safo Kordestani, the Periodical Publishers Association’s public affairs
manager, agreed: ’We have a problem with the warning. It would make more
sense to regulate private health care rather than regulating the ads. We
don’t have a precise figure for the value of this advertising but it is
The PPA has requested a meeting with Dobson to put the magazine
industry’s case. ’Compliance with the codes of honesty and decency is 97
per cent,’ Kordestani said. ’We welcome a review of the sector but we
don’t think further regulation of the advertising is necessary.’