Jorgie Porter's 'Oi spotty' ad can't be screened during children's programmes after complaints from viewers
A skincare ad featuring the actor Jorgie Porter must no longer screen during children's programmes after a watchdog found it implied that teenagers who have bad skin but do not use the product are likely to be bullied or ridiculed.
The television campaign for Proactiv+ features Porter tearfully describing a high school incident when a fellow student called her "Oi spotty", and the positive effect the product later had on her skin.
In the ad, Porter describes how the insult left her "so gutted", saying: "It's your face. When nothing works, you're so sad and you just think, 'well that's me now forever'.
"I was so, so happy when I discovered Proactiv+. It changed everything."
Four viewers complained that the ads were harmful because they implied that children were likely to be ridiculed or bullied if they had bad skin and did not use the product.
Proactiv Skin Health said the ads "simply set out the personal story and experience of one woman" and did not imply that people were likely to be ridiculed if they did not use the products.
Ad clearance agency Clearcast supported Proactiv's response, and said there was no suggestion that being called "spotty" was ever repeated or that it resulted in the actress being bullied.
Upholding the complaints and imposing a scheduling restriction on the ad, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that it showed Porter becoming visibly upset as she recalled the experience.
It said: "Whilst we acknowledged that bullying behaviour varied in severity, we considered that the incident described by Ms Porter, of being called a derogatory name on the basis of her appearance, did amount to an episode of bullying or being ridiculed.
"We considered that the ads created a direct link between an incidence of bullying in her childhood as a result of her bad skin and a product she said had made her skin clearer, and that as a result the ads implied that children who had bad skin and did not use the product were likely to be bullied or ridiculed."
It ruled that the ads must not be shown again in their current form around programmes made for children or likely to appeal particularly to them.
Proactiv said: "It was never our intention for the ad to be interpreted in this way.
"We strongly object to any form of bullying. We simply wanted to show that Jorgie had struggled with breakouts for a long time and that the advertised products had worked for her and could also work for the viewers.
"We are very sorry if anyone has been offended by the ad."