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Advertising Botox – The Rules

One of the most common questions I get asked by dentists and aesthetic practitioners is ‘How do I promote botox on social media?’

The short answer is you can promote it but you need to be careful. The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and GDC (General Dental Council) both allow botox to be advertised but only under certain conditions. Facebook as it’s own strict rules as well but let’s look at the ASA & GDC definitions.

The ASA indicates that advertisers are allowed to make references to Botox online but they “have to reflect the content of the ‘Summary of Product Characteristics’ that are authorised for Botox as part of the product’s medicine license”.

Furthermore, Botox is only licensed for cosmetic use on the ‘glabellar’ lines – the vertical line on the forehead between the eyes. Despite Botox being used to treat other lines and wrinkles, it is actually not licensed for that sort of usage; therefore, any claims that don’t contain entirely factual information will breach the Advertising Code.

The GDC definition states

“Advertising of botox is not considered acceptable if the proposed wording of the advertisement focuses directly on botox and its effects. Best practice is to focus on the consultation with the trained clinician and give reference only to the possibilities of using botox as a treatment option”

The key points here that both the ASA and GDC want you to focus on the outcomes of the treatment, not the product.

So neither the ASA or GDC prevents you from promoting botox but they do not want you to refer directly to botox

Which means you can refer to it indirectly.

So you can promote it and even run Google AdWords campaigns by referring to it indirectly on your social media pages.

But how does this work in practice and when can you use the word botox and when can’t you ?

To get a little more specific, “Botox”, as a treatment, should not be directly referred to on:

  • Any advertisement campaigns
  • Any social media pages
  • On the website home page
  • In a patient testimonial
  • Any practice logos

The word ‘Botox’ can be included in your price list BUT don’t give it prime position on your Home page.

So how do you get to promote your Botox treatments without using the word ‘Botox’?

Simply speaking, it goes back to focusing on the outcome of the treatment and not the product.

By focusing on the benefits of a treatment, you can use different phrases or descriptions without using the word botox.

Examples of some of the phrases we use when promoting some of our clients treatments would be:

  • Wrinkle Softening
  • Wrinkle Removal Wrinkle Relaxing
  • Wrinkle Softening Injections
  • Wrinkle Relaxing Injections
  • Wrinkle Removing Injections
  • Anti-Wrinkle Injections
  • Anti-Aging Injections
  • Forehead Smoothing Injections

So by using different words –  e.g. ‘skin rejuvenation treatment’  you are focusing on what happens and avoiding the use of the word ‘botox’.

As an example, you can put up a post on your Facebook page using before and after images showing the effects of your ‘skin rejuvenation treatment’ (with patient’s consent of course) taking care NOT to use the word botox.

BUT this is for Facebook posts only.

Don’t try and boost the post or it will get rejected. You are now entering the realm of paying for your post to be seen and this will get rejected by Facebook.

Similarly, do NOT include before and after images in any Facebook ads – they will get rejected.

If you decide to run a Pay Per Click campaign, make sure that the web pages you use don’t imply that Botox is the only treatment option.

To repeat, make sure you use phrases that focus on the outcome e.g. ‘younger looking skin’.

If this is something that you are going to design and manage yourself, it’s definitely worth checking the most recent version of the ASA guidelines as well as becoming familiar with Google and Facebook’s rules on advertising aesthetic products.

One final point – as dermal fillers aren’t classed as Prescription Only Medicine, these rules restrictions don’t apply so you have much more freedom to advertise them however you want to.