Secret Surgery ad criticised for trivialising cosmetic ops

The ASA has ruled that the ad should not appear in its current form

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is clamping down on advertisements that are seen to ‘trivialise’ cosmetic surgery.

In one of its latest rulings, the advertising watchdog stated that Secret Surgery must ensure future advertising did not trivialise cosmetic surgery, following a complaint over one of its ads.

The ad in question ran on a Facebook page. It stated: “We welcome you to join our trip to the wonderful winter wonderland in Wroclaw 12th to 15th December. FREE CONSULTATIONS, Tour our medical facilities, Christmas market and sight seeing [sic] - If you's [sic] like to join in the festivities contact your patient care manager or email … secret surgery … FREE surgical consultations, tour the medical facilities, Christmas Market.”

The ad received one complaint, which challenged whether it was irresponsible because it promoted surgery as part of a Christmas trip.

Secret Surgery put forward a response stating it did not think the ad was irresponsible and said it offered concierge trips rather than cosmetic surgery holidays. It said the trip promoted in the ad was a concierge service for medical tourists involving a tour of medical facilities in Poland.

Despite Facebook investigating the matter and claiming that the post did not violate its page terms or community standards, the ASA upheld the complaint and said that the tour of the facilities as part of a Christrip trip involving festive activities was likely to give the impression that surgery was a decision that could be undertaken lightly without serious consideration of the nature of the intervention.