ASA Adjudications Snapshot

This article provides a selection of the most interesting ASA adjudications from December and a summary of the key issues considered in the adjudications. This month the ASA considered a number of themes in its adjudications, including the use of studies to substantiate claims. In two of the decisions outlined below the ASA did not consider that it was sufficient for advertisers to rely upon unpublished studies carried out on a small numbers of participants. The ASA has also indicated that it may require evidence of ongoing or long-lasting product performance to substantiate efficacy claims.

To view the article in full, please see below:

Full Article


1. Biomedical Laboratories, 1 December 2010 (one unpublished study of 22 participants was not sufficient to substantiate the advertiser's robust efficacy claims)

2. Chefaro UK Ltd, 8 December 2010 (the ASA considered that a "100% effective" claim was a top parity, as opposed to a superiority claim).


3. DSG Retail LTD t/a PC World, 1 December 2010 (in the overall context of the advert a female character choosing a pink product did not reinforce a negative gender stereotype)


4. Beetles UK Ltd t/a Danbury MotorCaravans, 8 December 2010 (the advertiser did not hold the required permissions to use a third party's logo and therefore misleadingly implied that its product was endorsed by the third party)

5. Peugeot Motor Company plc, 22 December 2010 (the ASA was concerned that elements of a package were being described as "free" when it had not seen evidence that consumers could opt to decline the "free element" whilst paying the same overall package price)


6. Dean House plc t/a Betta Living, 8 December 2010 (the ASA considered the claim "Hurry Spring Sale Now On" implied that the sale was due to end imminently) 7. BSH Home Appliances Ltd t/a Bosch, 8 December 2010 (at the time at which the advert is published advertisers should hold documentary evidence to substantiate claims)


8. Argos Ltd, 1 December 2010 (relevant qualifications to claims must be highlighted; absolute claims should not be made if these are likely to mislead consumers) 9. Halewood International Ltd, 1 December 2010 (an advert containing "mild" sexual innuendos was acceptable as the innuendos were unlikely to be understood by young children) 10. Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK) Ltd, 8 December 2010 ("new" claim related to the advertiser's innovative product, rather than new technology in the industry as a whole) 11. Reebok International Ltd, 1 December 2010 (one study of a small sample of participants which did not consider the long-term consequences of the use of the product did not suffice to prove absolute efficacy claims) 12. Airline Seat Company Ltd t/a/ Canadian Affair, 1 December 2010 (10% of seats were available at the advertised price, which the ASA considered was sufficient availability) 13. Dalton Group Ltd, 22 December 2010 (the ASA upheld complaints that imagery in an advert was demeaning to women, as they bore no relevance to the advertised service) 14. UK Loan Star.NET, 1 December 2010 (part of the advertiser's URL misleadingly implied endorsement by a third party)


15. The Smile Train UK, 8 December 2010 (the ASA considered the use of phrases "can help" and "could also help" and considered the substantiation of claims which could be interpreted in many ways by consumers) MAIN ARTICLE


1. Biomedical Laboratories, 1 December 2010

A leaflet promoting an underwear garment claimed to reduce wearers' cellulite by increasing circulation and breaking down fatty deposits. The leaflet made a number of efficacy claims including that the garment could break down cellulite, improve circulation, improve lymphatic drainage, and reduce the circumference of body parts in the long term. It included testimonials from wearers who claimed that they had lost between one and two inches from various body parts.


One complainant believed that the efficacy claims in the advert could not be substantiated and therefore were misleading. The complainant also challenged whether the references to body sizes in the advert implied that the garment could help users lose weight.

The ASA upheld the complaints. It noted that the advertiser had provided clinical trial evidence consisting of one unpublished study of 22 participants. The ASA did not consider that one such study, together with "anecdotal evidence" in a newspaper article was sufficient to prove strong efficacy claims. Further, the participants did not report on the long-term effect of wearing the garments. The ASA considered that a robust body of evidence was required to substantiate the efficacy claims and concluded that the advertiser had not provided such evidence. The ASA also considered that the wording in the leaflet "... helps remodel your figure... without the stress of dieting" implied that the product would achieve the same outcome as a diet and that this, together with the references to body parts in the testimonials, implied that the product could cause weight reduction. This adjudication serves as a reminder that advertisers must hold robust evidence to substantiate efficacy claims. In this case the ASA did not consider that one unpublished study of 22 participants which did not consider the long-term effects of wearing the product was sufficient; advertisers should bear in mind that studies and trials should comprise of an appropriate number of participants, and should also ensure that their methodology is appropriate to demonstrate the claims being made.

2. Chefaro UK Ltd, 8 December 2010

A television advert for a head lice treatment showed a mother spraying head lice treatment on her daughter's head. The advert contained claims such as "unbeatable treatment for headlice" and "Lyclear is guaranteed to remove 100% of headlice and eggs".


A competitor challenged the advert on three grounds; first, whether the claim "unbeatable treatment for headlice" could be substantiated; secondly, whether the claim "Lyclear is guaranteed to remove 100% of headlice and eggs" was misleading because it understood that a comb would be required to achieve the results claimed; and thirdly, whether the advert was misleading because it did not distinguish between the advertised product and other products made by the advertiser. The ASA did not uphold any of the complaints. In respect of the "unbeatable" claim, the ASA considered that this was a top parity claim, rather than a superiority claim (in line with Clearcast's opinion). The ASA decided that the claim related to the effectiveness of the treatment only, rather than the ease of use or the time required. As expert advice indicated that the treatment was, in fact, 100% effective (and nothing could be more effective than 100%), the ASA did not consider that the advert was misleading in this regard. In respect of the second claim, the ASA considered that the advert's purpose was to promote the properties of the treatment, rather than the process of the treatment. Accordingly, it considered that it was reasonable for the advertiser to focus on how the treatment worked in the advert, rather than indicating all of the elements of the treatment. The ASA considered that most viewers would be aware that a comb was required for headlice treatment and therefore did not conclude that the advert was misleading. In respect of the final complaint, the shot in the advert featured only the advertised product, rather than other products from the advertiser's range. Accordingly, the ASA concluded that it was clear to which product the advert related and that this was unlikely to mislead. This advert provides guidance relating to "unbeatable" claims and as to the fact that these will generally be treated as "top parity" claims, rather than superiority claims. Here the advertiser was able to...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT