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Product: Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (Stage 1 - Infant Formula)
Advertiser: Seasons Hub
Medium: Internet (Social Media)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 8.30, 8.31, 8.32
Advertising on a community Facebook page entitled “New business launch – our story” featured a post by Seasons Hub for Loulouka baby formula. The post outlined the details behind the advertisers’ launch of the product in Ireland and also featured images of the products available to purchase.
The following text was provided as part of the post:
“Loulouka love nature. For all your little ones.”
The above text was accompanied by an image of Stage 1 Infant Formula.
The complainant objected to the advertising as they believed that Stage 1 Infant Formula was not permitted to be advertised.
The advertisers said they had put a lot of work, time and energy into forming their company and their awareness campaign for their new business was launched in March 2022 on their local Facebook group. Shortly after the launch a comment was left on their post informing them that it was illegal to advertise Stage Infant Formula in Ireland.
The advertisers said that on receipt of the above comment. they reached out to the ASAI to see if they were in breach of requirements for the advertising of Infant Formula. Subsequent to this, they received a formal complaint from the ASAI for comment.
The advertisers said they did not consider that they had breached the requirements of the ASAI Code as at the time of the launch (18 March) and responding to the complaint (7th April) they had not sold any products. The Facebook post had been published prior to the retail stage and the post in question had served one purpose i.e., to spread awareness of the products being available in Ireland prior to the retail stage.
The advertisers said that they fully appreciated that marketing communications for Infant Formula were heavily regulated in Ireland unless they appeared in scientific publications or were for the purpose of trade before the retail stage or were in a publication for which the intended readers were not the general public.
The advertisers, however, withdrew all advertising for Stage 1 Infant Formula from their marketing communications.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the advertising had been removed.
The Committee noted the Code requirement that Marketing communications for infant formula are prohibited unless they appear in scientific publications, or are for the purposes of trade before the retail stage, or are a publication for which the intended readers are not the general public (8.31). As the advertising for Stage 1 infant formula had been served to consumers through a community Facebook page, they concluded that the advertising was in breach of Section 8.31 of the Code.
As the advertising had been removed no further action was required in this case.