Bath firm could face ad probe after using actor as 'top designer'

Bath firm could face ad probe after using actor as 'top designer'

April 23, 2022

Luxury bath firm that boasts Harrods and Tiffany as clients could face advertising watchdog probe after using an actor as its ‘top designer’ to front online campaign

  • Lusso Stone faces an advertising probe as it turns out its designer does not exist
  • ‘JP Mancinelli’ fronts the brands campaigns but is actually actor Jon Paul Phillips
  • The bathroom brand now face an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority for the campaign

It is easy to see why the luxury bathroom brand Lusso Stone chose its product designer JP Mancinelli to front its online advertising campaign, given his good looks and ease in front of the camera.

‘Exceptional quality is paramount,’ he purrs to potential clients. ‘It is what we have built our reputation on, and you don’t achieve that by cutting corners.’

Yet cutting corners is exactly what Lusso is accused of doing after it emerged that Mr Mancinelli doesn’t actually exist. In fact, the man in the advert is Jon Paul Phillips, an actor and model who has appeared in a series of unheralded films.

Mr Mancinelli doesn’t actually exist. In fact, the man in the advert is Jon Paul Phillips, an actor and model who has appeared in a series of unheralded films

Lusso, a £30 million-a-year firm that boasts clients such as Harrods, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany – as well as some of the world’s most prestigious hotels, including Claridge’s and the Connaught – now faces the prospect of an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority after a customer made a complaint.

Mr Phillips, who is listed on the website of the Select Model Agency, has combined his limited movie career with performances in adverts for firms including The White Company, L’Occitane and Audi. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on his part. Born in Darlington, Mr Phillips – whose grandmother Marika Rivera was a French actress with a part in the Oscar- winning film Fiddler On The Roof – attended Barnard Castle School in County Durham before making his movie debut in Ass Backwards in 2013, playing ‘Adonis on Bus’.

His most prominent role to date came in Kept Boy, a 2017 film in which he portrayed Dennis Racine, the toy-boy gay lover of, rather ironically, an interior designer.

The episode risks tarnishing the reputation of Lusso and its founder, Wayne Spriggs, who was last year crowned small business entrepreneur of the year at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

His most prominent role to date came in Kept Boy, a 2017 film in which he portrayed Dennis Racine, the toy-boy gay lover of, rather ironically, an interior designer

In interviews, Mr Spriggs has been fond of telling the rags-to-riches story of how he built Lusso from ‘a £10,000 overdraft, no loans and no help from investors’ into ‘a leading lifestyle brand’.

He has, perhaps understandably, been less keen to mention his conviction for fraud in 2006.

The 47-year-old from Middlesbrough was handed a 27-month jail term for running an online clothing business that tricked the public into buying fake designer goods.

Shortly after The Mail on Sunday contacted Lusso, the videos featuring JP Mancinelli were removed from its website. Lusso said Wayne Spriggs designed ‘a large proportion’ of the firm’s products.

A spokesman for the Advertising Standards Authority said: ‘We will carefully assess the complaint to establish if there any potential problems under our rules and if further action is warranted.’

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