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CTPA collaborate with ASA on cosmetics advertising

By Katie Bird , 18-Nov-2008
Last updated the 18-Nov-2008 at 13:31 GMT

The UK’s CTPA hopes its new guidelines for advertising claims will lower the number of clashes between cosmetics companies and the regulatory authorities.

The new guidelines, published last month, have been written with input and advice from the Advertising Standards Authority and aim to put the regulatory body and advertising cosmetic companies on the same page.

“We recognised that there was a missing connection somewhere in the system,” CTPA director general Chris Flower told CosmeticsDesign.

“An unwritten rule of advertising is to push the limits and if a company goes too far the ASA steps in, this is normal,” Flower explained.

Confusion over what cosmetics can do

However, in recent years there have been a number of adjudications that the CTPA felt were unfair, which, according to Flower, have often stemmed from a lack of mutual understanding of what a cosmetics product can do.

“The CTPA weren’t convinced that the ASA were fully informed about the significant advancements that have been made in cosmetics science in recent years,” he said.

In particular he noted the case of cosmetics leading to cumulative or persistent benefit for example in the case of skin moisturising; that the ASA had previously not accepted was possible.

Before the guidelines many of the cosmetics companies claiming such benefits for their products would be courting disapproval and action from the ASA who labelled such products as medicines, Flower explained.

Claim classes

The new guidelines not only clarify the properties of a cosmetic, they also set out the types of claims that can be made about a product (claims based on sensory effects, performance effects, ingredients and product aesthetics) and what evidence is needed to back these up.

In addition, the guidelines make clear that for lesser claims smaller amounts of evidence is needed, making the approach adaptable to different products with different claims.

“The guidelines allow companies to break down the claims into the building blocks and then make sure they have all of the evidence needed to back these up,” Flower said.

He hopes that the new approach will cut down the number of adjudications brought against cosmetic companies as the industry should now have a clearer understanding of what is and is not acceptable.

The guidelines are available to download for free on the CTPA website.

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