The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received four complaints about the ad for Proactiv+ skincare from people who said they believed it implied “children were likely to be ridiculed or bullied if they had bad skin and did not use the product”.
“We considered that the ads created a direct link between an incidence of bullying in her childhood as a result of her bad skin and a product she said had made her skin clearer,” stated the ASA.
“As a result the ads implied that children who had bad skin and did not use the product were likely to be bullied or ridiculed,” the ASA concluded.
The ad featured former ‘Hollyoaks’ actress Porter talking about being taunted by a boy when she was in school.
“There was a time at school in the corridor once when a young lad shouted out to me ‘Oi spotty’,” she said in the ad, adding that she had felt “gutted”.
“It’s your face. When nothing works, you’re so sad and you just think, ‘Well that’s me now forever.’”
Proactiv Skin Health Ltd disputed the complaints. They do not agree that the ad implies bullying would occur if children did not use the products.
“The ad showed Jorgie Porter describing her own experiences in her own words,” they contested. “She was not given a script and was not asked to act in a particular way, or convey any particular emotion.”
Clearcast, a company that checks ads against the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising said the ads were not directly aimed at children.
However the ASA countered this by stating they were shown on a children’s television channel and therefore “children would have been watching”.
They ruled that neither a short nor a longer version of the ad must not be shown again around programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children.