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Surgeons 'Name and Shame' inappropriate cosmetic surgery ads

BAAPS Launches First-Ever Advertising Campaign to Promote Patient Safety and Education

London, UK - 18 September 2008- The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (www.baaps.org.uk), the not-for-profit organisation established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit, today announced the launch of their first-ever ad campaign to promote sensible decision-making by people considering cosmetic surgery. The ad, depicting a life-size scalpel in gritty black-and-white, was developed in response to a growth in advertising they deemed inappropriate and irresponsible, trivialising what is a serious and life-changing process.

A number of current print ads exemplifying this worrying trend are to be showcased at the surgeons' Annual Meeting, taking place at the Chester Racecourse 18-19 September. Some of these include those offering financial and date-linked incentives, digitally-enhanced images of models which give an unrealistic idea of what surgery can achieve, and those using terminology that is exaggerated or ambiguous. 

One particular example, a 2007 poster campaign on the London Underground, first prompted the BAAPS to start considering the idea of print ads: it showed an unhappy, flat-chested young woman in one panel, followed by the image of her smiling radiantly, with enhanced breasts, in another ('Meet Amy before her breast enlargement. Meet Amy after'). The ad was banned after numerous complaints by the public and doctors.

According to Douglas McGeorge, BAAPS President and consultant plastic surgeon;

"The BAAPS has been increasingly concerned about the standard and style of today's cosmetic surgery advertising, designed to encourage and incentivise people to undergo procedures. Surgery is a serious undertaking which requires realistic expectations and should only proceed after proper consultation with a reputable and properly qualified clinician in an appropriate clinical setting. Our ad is designed to get patients to stop and actually thoroughly consider what's involved, to ensure safe and happy outcomes."

'Good Medical Practice in Cosmetic Surgery' by the Independent Healthcare authority (IHAS) clearly states:

Marketing materials must be drafted and designed to safeguard patients from unrealistic expectations as a result of cosmetic surgery procedures

Advertisements in journals, newspapers and magazines should use photographs depicting real life and not professional models.

Advertisements must not offer discounts linked to a deadline date for booking appointments or surgery or other date-linked incentives.

According to David Barraclough, Creative Director at Manchester-based design consultancy Barraclough Associates (www.barraclough-associates.com), which produced the BAAPS ads;

"The BAAPS campaign was devised to make a person considering cosmetic surgery fully contemplate the competence of their choice of surgeon. By using an image of a scalpel we encourage the viewer to consider who is holding this instrument: an instrument that in the right hands can work wonders, but in the wrong hands the consequences can be disastrous. Using the scalpel at actual size we heighten the sense of tension, making the instrument very real and potentially threatening. The use of gritty black and white takes away the glamour and presents the facts in a hard-hitting manner."

The BAAPS print ads will appear starting October in national women's interest magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Now, Glamour and Elle.

ENDS

The BAAPS (www.baaps.org.uk), based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation, established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. Information about specific procedures and surgeons’ contact details can be found on the website, or by contacting their office at 020 7430 1840. Further materials can be posted to members of the public seeking specialised information. BAAPS is also on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BAAPSMedia    and Facebook: www.facebook.com/BritishAssociationofAestheticPlasticSurgeons

For all media enquiries, please contact pr@baaps.org.uk

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