The advertising watchdog has banned Instagram ads run by two beauty companies for claiming their procedures could make customers look like Kylie Jenner, the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner American reality TV family.
Beauty salons AKJ Aesthetics and Queen of Aesthetics used images of Jenner, who has a huge social media fanbase including almost 150 million followers on Facebook-owned Instagram, to promote “filler” cosmetic procedures marketed as the “Kylie Jenner package”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) challenged whether the ads featuring Jenner misleadingly suggested their packages would give customers lips, cheeks and jawline that closely resembled her look.
Both companies said that they used images of the 22-year-old billionaire because she would appeal to their target customers and Jenner and other members of her family had lip, cheek and jawline enhancements with the volumes of filler stated in the ads. AKJ Aesthetics also offered a “Kylie package” as a competition prize, which the ASA ruled was irresponsible.
“We considered that consumers would therefore understand from the ads that they could achieve similar results to those of Kylie Jenner and that the photos accurately represented what could generally be achieved through use of the advertised cosmetic procedures,” the ASA said.
“Therefore we expected to see that the person in the ad, Kylie Jenner, had used those products and the ad was a realistic depiction of what the products could achieve.”
The ASA banned the ads and told AKJ Aesthetics and Queen of Aesthetics not to use celebrities in ads if they had not used their products.
The ASA also banned a third Instagram beauty ad, run by Beauty Boutique Aesthetics, featuring another member of the clan, Kim Kardashian, for promoting Botox. It is against the UK advertising code to market prescription-only medicines.
Earlier this month, Instagram said it will start hiding promotions for cosmetic surgery and other diet products from under 18s. Last year, Kim Kardashian, who has 148 million Instagram followers, was criticised for promoting an appetite-suppressing lollipop on her account.
Kylie Jenner has huge social media clout and a cult following. A tweet last year in which she asked her 28 million Twitter followers “does anyone else not open Snapchat any more?” wiped $1.3bn (£1bn) off the company’s stock market value.
Earlier this year, Forbes named then 21-year-old Jenner the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, beating Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg by two years. She built a makeup empire from Kylie Cosmetics, which she runs largely from her iPhone with the help of her mother Kris.