Chris Bennett: OMG!! Marnie take down those misleading ads!
Author: Chris Bennett
Geordie Shore has passed me by as a reality televisual feast but the show’s Marnie Simpson has certainly given the optical profession something to chew on (In Focus page 6).
Ms Simpson hadn’t been on my social media radar but she has racked up four and a half million millennial followers. Her involvement in contact lens supply, and the social media posts promoting it, have therefore carried a hefty marketing punch. How many impressionable young people were swayed by her gushing online hyperbole is unknown.
I think it’s probably fair to say Ms Simpson hasn’t taken a lead role in the development of ispyeyes and its range of cosmetic contact lenses. Sadly, fame and infamy are inseparable so when a complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority about the promotion being provided by the reality TV Geordie it was her face emblazoned across the red tops.
The serious side to this sorry tale is that cosmetic contact lenses cannot be sold in the UK without the supervision of an optical professional. The ASA found in the complainant’s favour and has demanded that ispyeyes.com desist.
That contact lenses are sold from markets stalls, the internet, tattoo parlours and fashion shops is a disgrace. It suggests there is no semblance of control over the supply of optical goods or the will to root out transgressors.
The outcome of this case begs the question that if the ASA takes the view that an offshore company is pitching contact lenses at the UK why can’t the GOC take the same view?
It also offers a great encouragement to all those within optics not to put up with the existence of illegal contact lens sales. If you see illegal sales report them but make that complaint to the ASA not the GOC.