Spain’s parliament last week cleared the path for banning the advertising of certain beauty products and even plastic surgery services on TV before 10pm. The government claims that this move is an attempt to eliminate what it says is a growing number of eating disorders among people, as well as improve the mental health of young women fixated on their weight and appearance.
Ads for diet products, some beauty treatments and plastic surgery are now officially considered more dangerous for young people than commercials for alcohol, which can be advertised from 9 pm. After Spain’s lower chamber of parliament approved the new law, it went to the upper chamber which is expected to ratify it within weeks. There is no date set for when such a ban would take effect.
The new law states: "Broadcasters cannot carry advertisements for things that encourage the cult of the body and have a negative impact on self-image — such as slimming products, surgical procedures and beauty treatments — which are based on ideas of social rejection as a result of one’s physical image or that success is dependent on factors such as weight or looks."
While debating the ban, the government considered but rejected a far more draconian law that would have banned all products advertised as "lite," as well. The biggest advertiser in the about-to-be-banned category is Corporacion Dermoestetica, a national chain of cosmetic surgery clinics. Advertisers may follow the example of cigarette and alcohol purveyors, maintaining their budgets but diverting the money to sponsorships, events, and online ads; or, they will simply advertise late at night.