The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned adverts for weight loss products posted on Instagram by a trio of celebrities: television personality Katie Price, reality star Lauren Goodger and former ‘Love Island’ contestant Georgia Harrison.
Weight loss posts, which promote certain slimming products such as teas or supplements, have become commonplace on celebrity and influencer led Instagram accounts in recent years. These sponsored posts often feature “before and after” style pictures.
The ban centres around adverts for two weight loss brands. The first is BoomBod, which is branded as a “weight loss shot drink”. The “10-calorie shots” are said to prevent people from overeating.
The second is V24 Gummies – a “gummy” style supplement said to stop food cravings.
The banned Instagram posts
Price, 41, shared a before-and-after post back in April praising BoomBod.
It read: "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!"
Price has also posted about weight loss products from the likes of Nutribuddy, a nutritional shake brand.
Goodger, 33, shared a similar post, of herself wearing gym clothes while holding BoomBod packaging.
"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,” she wrote.
The posts garnered four separate complaints about the two posts, on the grounds the health claims made were not EU-authorised, referred to a rate or amount of weight loss banned under advertising rules, and promoted an unhealthy attitude surrounding dieting.
In a separate ruling the ASA banned posts on Instagram pages of firm Teamv24 and ‘Love Island’ star Harrison, 24, 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, argue the claim "Glucomannan in the context of an energy restricted diet contributes to weight loss" is an authorised claim on the EU Register.
ASA ruling: ‘The influencers did not need to lose weight’
"It was clear from the ads that the influencers did not need to lose weight in order to achieve a healthy weight," wrote the ASA in the ruling concerning BoomBod.
The body has said the adverts breach rules surrounding health claims and promote the diet products 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."
Of the separate ruling, concerned Harrison’s post, 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.
The body also expresses concern that Harrison, like Goodger, may have “edited” her waist to make it look “artificially thin” – which is considers “particularly irresponsible”.
Price and Goodger’s response
Goodger did not attribute her weight loss to the product, simply saying it helped with her bloating and cravings, she contended to the ASA, while Price responded that the caption in her post "communicated her thoughts on the product".
However, the ASA have upheld the ruling "We received assurances from both advertisers that they have/are removing the posts," an ASA spokesperson told the BBC.
This isn’t the only crackdown on Instagram posts today. Earlier this morning, it was announced Instagram has banned filters with a plastic surgery effect.