“Cruelty-free” mink fur eyelashes and breast massage as a means of reducing cancer risk were among the more outlandish advertising claims that fuelled complaints to the advertising watchdog.
Four complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority For Ireland (ASAI) in relation to Bia Belle Beauty website, featuring details of their lash ranges, including mink.
On the website, they said the lashes were “made cruelty-free” with “handmade love and care”.
However the complainants said it was not possible that hair obtained from a mink, a wild animal, could be “cruelty-free” as it was being caged. One complainant referred to the fact that the lashes were imported from China, where animal cruelty laws did not compare to those in the EU.
The advertisers said they had researched their supplier before importing into Ireland and had obtained a certification from them saying it was cruelty-free.
The advertisers said they had not advertised their lashes under false pretences or set out to mislead anyone intentionally.
The ASAI consulted with University College Dublin School of Veterinary Medicine who said that the principle of “cruelty-free” would extend to any use of animals in product development.
“As the product in this case was animal fur, they stated that it was incompatible with this principle and, in their opinion, the use of the term for product advertised was therefore misleading,” the ASAI said.
In regards to the certificate provided by the supplier to the advertisers, UCD said the supplier had a vested interest in marketing their product.
The ASAI upheld the complaints and Bia Belle Beauty said that they would no longer use the term ‘cruelty free’ without appropriate certification.
The ASAI also upheld as misleading a claim by Nature and Harmony, sent by text message to customers, offering acupuncture for headaches and migranes and breast massage for women “with hands and machine”. Among the listed benefits of the latter were that breast massage “reduces the risk of cancer”, “helps you look younger”,“lifts stress and depression” “increases breast size” and “prevents sagging”. The cancer claim was based on research over 20 years old.
The complainant considered most of the claims had no scientific basis and could not be supported.
The advertisers apologised and said they would cooperate with the ASAI and would change their advertising.
Of 18 complaints upheld, five related to telecoms company Eir.