Buying new boobs from Groupon is "irresponsible"
Q: What does Groupon, purveyor of emails full of temptingly cheap things you never knew you wanted have in common with Tulisa, newest and youngest judge on the X factor? A: Of course it’s not that they are both cheap*, it’s because they have both been accused of malpractice by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). Tulisa’s crime is to wave her crappy Female Boss tattoo at the cameras each week, when she has only gone and launched a new perfume named after her own arm. Groupon, on the other hand (or arm) has been found guilty of a worse crime- pressuring people to have bigger boobs. It’s a tough job…
The culpable email in question, offering discounted cosmetic surgery, including breast enlargement, has been banned by the ASA for "pressuring" consumers into hurriedly making potentially life-changing decisions in just a few hours. The terms of the deal, as for many Groupons, offered offered discounts of well over 50% on operations at a clinic in Manchester if customers booked before midnight on the day the deal was sent out. The deal was sent out in May with surgery to take place by 28 November.
The ASA acted after receiving a complaint from a member of the public and on from the Independent Healthcare Advisory Service, claiming the Groupon deal was irresponsible "because it encouraged recipients to hurry into a decision to purchase cosmetic surgery".
The ASA pointed out that the marketing and ethical code run by the appropriately monikered British Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) prohibited ads that offered discounts linked to a deadline date for booking appointments "or other date-linked incentives". The practice also goes against the good practice guide of the General Medical Council.
The ASA went on to say that the "very limited time in which consumers had to buy the voucher pressured consumers into making a decision to (to all intents and purposes) purchase cosmetic surgery".
"We considered that the decision to undergo physically invasive procedures was one that required substantial consideration," said the ASA. "We noted consumers only had 24 hours in which to buy the voucher and because of that, we considered that consumers buying the voucher would have already financially and mentally committed themselves to going ahead with a procedure."
This is not the first time Groupon have been in the news this week. A poor baker in Reading offered a deal to sell cupcakes for £6.50 a box, generating a loss of £2.50 per box. She was inundated with over 8,500 orders, which then wiped out her profits for the year. Of course, no-one made her offer the deal, but she still feels aggrieved that her marketing worked so well.
But leaving cakes aside and going back to the baps, the ASA concluded that the plastic surgery email promotion was irresponsible and banned the ad a mere six months after it had been and gone. The ASA also banned a similar type of ad, one that referred to an ‘easy’ way to bigger breasts commissioned by the Harley Medical Centre back in 2007. The advertiser commented that many women felt "renewed confidence and self-esteem after cosmetic enhancement" and that there was not any implication that only big breasts could make someone happy. We beg to differ…