Proactiv adverts starring Katy Perry and Justin Bieber banned in UK for being misleading

Spot of bother: Ads for 'miracle' clear skin cream starring Katy Perry and Justin Bieber banned in UK for being misleading
British Proactiv does not contain same active ingredient as American version
Brand counts Elle Macpherson and Avril Lavigne among celebrity endorsers

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UPDATED:

22:14 GMT, 17 July 2012

Adverts for a 'miracle' spot cream, starring celebrities including Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, have been banned in the UK for being misleading.

British watchdogs have banned the Proactiv commercials in Britain since the UK version of the product – which boasts celebrities including Elle Macpherson and Avril Lavigne among its celebrity endorsers – does not contain the same active ingredient used in the American brand.

Banned: The TV advert for Proactiv spot cream starring Katy Perry has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority after it was branded misleading

Banned: The TV advert for Proactiv spot cream starring Katy Perry has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority after it was branded misleading

The Proactiv ads, shown on a teleshopping channel, showed Perry endorsing Proactiv and telling viewers it had helped clear up her problem skin.

A further series of ads on the Proactiv website showed other stars, including Justin Bieber, giving their support for the product.

But a woman contacted the Advertising Standards Authority to complain that the promotional adverts were misleading.

She said the celebrities
concerned were likely to have used Proactiv's American brand, which contains an active ingredient not present in the UK
version.

Guthy-Renker
UK Ltd (GRUK), the direct marketing company behind the ads, said the featured stars had been sent the
UK formulations of Proactiv products to use.

Three step system: Proactiv claims to calm irritated skin, unplug pores and smooth your complexion within days

Three step system: Proactiv claims to calm irritated skin, unplug pores and smooth your complexion within days

They said many of the Proactiv
Solution products had only one formulation, used both in America and
in the UK, but with different brand names and packaging.

Celebrity endorsers including Perry and Bieber were asked to provide descriptions of their own experiences using the products, and the benefits they had witnessed of such use, and to ensure that any such endorsements would be factually
accurate and representative of their honest opinions.

But
the ASA banned the ads, noting that while five of the seven celebs made
statements saying they had used UK Proactiv products 'for several
weeks', the ads implied the benefits came from continual use.

Misleading: The advert for Proactiv starring Katy Perry received a complaint because it was unclear whether the singer had used the American or the British version of the product, which contain diffferent active ingredients

In the spotlight: Singer Katy Perry says Proactiv 'miracle' spot cream cleared up her problem skin

Spot the difference: Proactiv adverts starring singer Katy Perry have been banned in the UK

They
said: 'We considered the overall impression of the ads was that the
celebrities were continued and regular users of Proactiv and noted the
same endorsement claims were included on the US Proactiv website.

'We
noted the signed statements, which related to only five of the seven
testimonials, said the celebrities had each used the UK formulation of
the product for a period of only several weeks, between one and three
years before the ads appeared.

'We
noted the ads were targeted at a UK audience and that the UK Proactiv
products had a different active ingredient to the US version.

'In
that context, we therefore considered the claims of continued use had
not been substantiated. We concluded that the ads were misleading.

'The
ads must not appear again in their current form. We told GRUK to ensure
endorsements and testimonials in future ads related to the product
being advertised.'

Clear skin: Proactiv adverts have also featured singer Justin Bieber who says he uses their 'miracle' spot cream

Clear skin: Proactiv adverts have also featured singer Justin Bieber who says he uses their 'miracle' spot cream

Star promotion: Supermodel Elle Macpherson is one of Proactiv's highest-profile celebrity endorsers

Celebrity endorsement: Singer Avril Lavigne is one of the stars who use Proactiv 'miracle' spot cream

Spot test: Celebrities including supermodel Elle Macpherson, left, and singer Avril Lavigne, right, are among Proactiv's star endorsers