Ads for weight loss brands that appeared on the Instagram accounts of celebrities Lauren Goodger, Katie Price and Georgia Harrison have been banned for being irresponsible.
Posts for BoomBod, which appeared on the firm’s own Instagram page in March as well as those for Goodger and Price, read: “BoomBod weight loss in a week. Clinically Proven. Stop Cravings. No Laxatives. Tasty 10 Calorie Shots.”
A post on Goodger’s Instagram account included an image of her standing by a fireplace in athletic clothes holding BoomBod packaging with the text: “Can’t believe these amazing results I’ve gotten with @boombod’s 7 Day Achiever. It works so well to decrease bloating and get rid of those late night cravings. This difference I’ve noticed from using this stuff is amazing.”
A post on Price’s Instagram account in April included a before and after image of her, and the text: “Getting loads of questions about the @boombod program and how I like it, and it’s no secret. I can’t get enough of it! Quick & Easy weight loss is great, but doing it in a healthy way is key. These shots have a bunch of vitamins, use a clinically proved natural fibre, contain zero laxatives and most importantly… they give results every time!”
Four people complained that the posts made health claims that were not EU-authorised, referred to a rate or amount of weight loss which was banned under advertising rules and promoted a dieting product in an irresponsible manner.
BoomBod said it would remove the ads and liaise with Goodger and Price to rectify the issue.
Goodger told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that she did not state that she had lost weight because of the product, but that it helped with bloating and hunger, adding that her post did not advise using the product for a long time.
Price said that the caption in her post “communicated her thoughts on the product”.
Upholding the complaints, the ASA said the ads breached rules around health claims and promoted a dieting product in an irresponsible manner.
It added: “We were also concerned that the photo of Lauren Goodger appeared to have been edited to make her waist look artificially thin with the result that the images were not representative of her real body shape.
We considered that was particularly irresponsible in the context of an ad for an appetite suppressant that presented her as an aspirational figure.”
In a separate ruling, the ASA banned posts on the Instagram pages of firm Teamv24 and television personality Georgia Harrison promoting weight loss ‘gummies’.
A post on Harrison’s Instagram page stated: “Paid partnership with v24team … V24 Gummies are great at helping you loose [sic] weight … V24 Gummies made dieting so much easier. They’re delicious and when taken with water they suppress your hunger cravings … They contain glucomannan which is clinically proven to help with weight loss.”
Protein Revolution, the brand’s owner, said the claim “Glucomannan in the context of an energy restricted diet contributes to weight loss” was an authorised claim on the EU Register.
All Star Entertainment, on behalf of Harrison, acknowledged the complaint but did not provide a substantive response, the ASA said.
The ASA said: “We considered that the health claims in the ad did not communicate the same information as the authorised health claim.
“We considered that consumers would take from the ads that Georgia Harrison had taken the products over a long period of time in order to maintain her slim figure. It was clear from the ads that Georgia Harrison did not need to lose weight in order to achieve a healthy weight.
“We considered that the overall message of the ads was that she nevertheless used the product on an ongoing basis to help her limit her calorie intake. We were concerned that this created the impression that it was necessary or advisable for those who aspired to her body shape and lifestyle to use products that suppressed their appetite.
“We were also concerned that the photos of Georgia Harrison in both ads appeared to have been edited to make her waist look artificially thin with the result that the images were not representative of her real body shape. We considered that was particularly irresponsible in the context of an ad for an appetite suppressant that presented her as an aspirational figure.
“For those reasons, we concluded that the ads promoted a diet product in an irresponsible way and breached the Code.”
Protein Revolution director Ciaran Greenwood said: “Upon receipt of a complaint from ASA, we amended/removed content that was deemed to be in breach of their guidelines.”
An Instagram spokeswoman said: “Misleading adverts are not allowed on Instagram.
“In addition, last month we introduced a new policy to restrict organic posts promoting the use of diet products which would likely include those flagged by the ASA.”
NHS medical director Professor Steve Powis said: “The NHS sees first-hand the impact damaging social media ads have on young and vulnerable people – peddling diet pills with promises too good to be true, idealised body image and misleading health ‘advice’ – so action from social media giants to act on NHS calls to prevent completely avoidable harm are a necessary first step to keeping children safe online, while the NHS Long Term Plan will continue to ramp up mental health support for millions more people.”