“We had our little girl and she’s our world, getting back in shape was really hard,” she said in the advert, which first aired in August 2017. “I lost the weight but I lost my chest too. I just thought, I’m gonna do something about it.
“So I had breast surgery with Transform. It’s not something I think about now. I just get on and enjoy my life and I love being able to wear what I want.”
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received four complaints challenging whether the ad was irresponsible.
The ASA said they considered the ad’s focus on the mum’s personal experience meant it directly targeted women who had recently become mothers.
“We were concerned that the ad’s focus on the negative perception the mum had of her body after childbirth would encourage other new mothers to think about and dwell on their own insecurities about their bodies,” the ASA stated.
“We considered that new mothers who had recently given birth and experienced significant changes in their body shape, could be particularly vulnerable to a breast-enhancement surgery ad directed at them.
“We considered that by directing the ad at new mothers and focusing on the negative perception a new mother had of her body after giving birth, the ad was likely to have exploited new mothers’ insecurities about their bodies. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.”
Responding to the complaints, Transform told ASA the testimonial from the new mum was “genuine” and represented the decision of a real customer who had decided that breast surgery was the appropriate solution for her.
The ASA stated: “Transform argued that the ad did not persuade people towards an unachievable or aspirational aesthetic.
“They stated that it was a natural occurrence that some women would experience a loss of volume or shape in their breasts after pregnancy, but that they did not claim at any point that breast surgery was the solution to those who experienced body changes when they became a new mother.
“They stated that the ad was based around the woman’s personal decision which was emphasised by the statement: ‘I did it for me’.”
The text: “No surgical procedure is entirely without risk. 18+ only” appeared in small font at the bottom of the screen towards the beginning of the ad, followed by the text: “The decision to have cosmetic surgery should not be taken lightly. Before going ahead with a procedure, allow time for reflection”.
Those were followed by a voiceover stating: “I did it for me” accompanied by text stating “Do It For You”.
The ASA ruled the ad must not appear again in its current form and instructed Transform to “take care to ensure that their service was advertised in a socially responsible way and to take particular care when targeting potentially vulnerable groups such as new mothers”.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, a spokesperson for Transform said: “Transform has contested the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision. In our response to the ASA, we said that the advert was based purely on Lou’s own, personal experience and therefore there was no suggestion that her experience would be a solution for all new mothers, nor did it trivialise the decision to undergo surgery. We are therefore disappointed by the ASA’s decision, and have made this clear to the organisation.
“Transform believes that patients should think carefully before having cosmetic surgery and do it for their own, independent reasons. We believe it is right to celebrate patients’ stories and journeys, which are often life-changing for the better.
“We believe that in the right circumstances and if right for the patient, cosmetic surgery can be hugely empowering. This is what our brand value, ‘Do it for you’, means for us and for patients.”