A poster encouraging women to travel to Malaysia for breast augmentation surgery has been banned by the advertising watchdog for 'trivialising' the cosmetic procedure.
Commissioned by the Malaysian-based Medical Tourism Association, the offending posters were displayed in public toilets at a number of motorway service stations and shopping centres in the UK.
The pink and white ad (below) states: 'Did you know ... "Boob job" is the most popular cosmetic procedure for women.'
'Malaysia is proud to be amongst one of the only countries within the region where medical tourism is promoted by the government.'
The ad goes on to discuss safety standards of the cosmetic surgery industry in Malaysia, before adding, 'our private hospitals bagged 3 out of 9 awards at the international Medical Travel Awards 2014.'
The Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint claiming that the ad was socially irresponsible because it trivialised cosmetic surgery by suggesting it could be incorporated into a holiday.
Media space buyer Admedia, which had booked the ad on behalf of the Medical Tourism Association, said the ad “had not advertised a holiday due to the absence of pricing, tourist or accommodation information nor did it include an option to sign up for a cosmetic procedure”. It added that “the ad was informative and promoted safety and high standards, demonstrated by examples of internationally recognised awards”.
However, the ASA ruled that the ad’s main focus was medical tourism for breast augmentation, and this emphasis “was likely to detract from the seriousness of the surgery offered”.
It said that the posters “could be interpreted as suggesting that surgery was a decision that could be undertaken lightly, without serious consideration of the nature of the intervention. We therefore concluded the overall presentation of the ad was likely to be seen as trivialising breast enhancement surgery.” The watchdog therefore banned the ad.