Ad Alert

Look Fantastic

Online beauty retailer blames Google for its own deceptive Google ad.

Interested in purchasing an anti-aging serum from beauty brand Bioeffect, a reader did what billions of people do every day. She Googled it.

The first search result for “Bioeffect EGF Serum” was a Google ad from online retailer Look Fantastic, she said. It advertised 15 percent off Bioeffect products with promo code “15FANTASTIC.” What could go wrong?

Google ad appearing in search results for “Bioeffect EGF Serum.”

Our reader found the product she was looking for on the Look Fantastic website and entered the code at checkout. It didn’t take.

“The coupon code you entered is invalid or not applicable to the contents of your cart,” an error message read.

She initiated a live chat to get some answers. But instead of honoring the Google ad or revealing some previously undisclosed exclusions, Look Fantastic said it had nothing to do with the ad’s creation. She said she was told that the code was part of Google’s e-commerce business and “not affiliated with Look Fantastic.”

But as our reader correctly pointed out in her submission to, that’s not how Google ads work. Advertisers pay Google for placement in search results, not the other way around. Not to mention Google’s “Why this ad?” feature makes clear that the ad, which is still active, is from reached out to Look Fantastic for comment. Check back for updates.

Find more of our coverage on deceptive Google ads here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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