Skin Cream Ad Accused Of Mocking Addiction

By McCarton Ackerman 04/02/13

A controversial British TV ad with the slogan "you'll be hooked" parodies a recovering addict.

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"It all started with a small dose." Photo via

A British TV commercial for a popular moisturizing cream has been criticized for trivializing drug addiction. Dozens of people have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the ad for E45 cream, which parodies an interview with a drug addict. The spot opens with a young woman sitting and rubbing her arms anxiously in a dark room, explaining that "it all started with a small dose. All my friends were using it. I immediately liked it and wanted more. It became a routine. It affected how I looked and how I felt. I couldn't stop thinking about it." At the end of the ad, she applies the cream to her arms and declares "it was the perfect daily moisturizer...I was hooked," before cutting out to the brand's slogan "You'll be hooked." TV viewers also took to the product's Twitter and Facebook pages to complain about the product, with one Twitter user referring to the ad as "completely misjudged, misguided ad content." Ken Stringer, chief executive of UK addict support group charity Alliance, says the commercial "certainly trivializes the issue of addiction and people who are struggling to overcome their addiction. It is exploitative because it relies heavily on a stereotype of people in recovery. An ASA spokesman confirmed that all 60 complaints have been received and the ad will be reviewed to determine if there are any advertising code violations."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.