The Transform advert
The Transform advert

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An “irresponsible” ad selling breast surgery to new mothers has been banned

Cosmetic-surgery company Transform targeted the insecurities of new mothers in an advert selling breast enlargements

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By Emily Baker on

An advert for cosmetic surgery has been banned for its “irresponsible” targeting of new mothers, who may be insecure about their bodies. Transform, the company behind the ad, has been accused of exploiting mothers and using the pressure they face to return to their pre-pregnancy bodies to sell breast-enlargement procedures.

The video in question featured 34-year-old Lou Newton, a real patient who underwent breast surgery six years after the birth of her daughter. Walking down the street, Newton says, “getting back in shape was really hard. I lost the weight, but I lost my chest too. I just thought, I’m going to do something about it, so I had breast surgery with Transform”. At the end of the ad, a message flashes on the screen – “do it for you.”

Four complaints were made about the ad, which were upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). In a report published today, the advertising watchdog said it was “concerned that the ad’s focus on the negative perception she had of her body after childbirth would encourage other new mothers to think about and dwell on their own insecurities about their bodies,” adding that new mothers would be particularly vulnerable to the advert’s messaging.

While their bodies are recovering from growing and subsequently pushing out a human, one in 10 women suffer from postnatal depression within the first year of motherhood

After giving birth women are particularly vulnerable. While their bodies are recovering from growing and subsequently pushing out a human, one in 10 women suffer from postnatal depression within the first year of motherhood. The last thing a new mother needs is immense pressure to return to their pre-pregnancy weight, but flicking through glossy magazines, it often seems as though famous women – from Beyonce to Kate Middleton – return to their pre-baby bodies in a matter of weeks (with no mention of a gruelling gym routine and strict diet), leaving women in the real world without any realistic expectations.

In response to the investigation, Transform argued that Newton’s testimonial was a real case and that the voice-over had been taken from a genuine interview. By not showing any negative “before and after” comparison images, and avoiding any overtly sexual themes, the company thought their advert was harmless. In their eyes, the video was based on a woman’s decision to surgically change her body – hence the “do it for you” slogan and “I did it for me” voice-over.

Nevertheless, the ASA deemed the ad “irresponsible” and in breach of their social responsibility rule. Transform have been ordered not to show the advert again in its current form, and to be more careful in the future when targeting potentially vulnerable and particularly impressionable audiences.

@emilyrbakes

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