The advertising which was accompanied by a female voiceover referred to the following:
“Did you know that summertime is the peak time for head lice with over 32 thousand children per day diagnosed with head lice and 12 million cases annually?
The V-Comb is a brand new revolutionary device that uses a rounded stainless steel toothcomb together with suction power to smoothly run across the scalp gently lifting and hovering lice and eggs into the patented snap off and throw away capture filter.
Call into McCabe’s pharmacy for a demonstration about head lice. You’re amazing, let’s keep you that way.”
The complainant considered the advertising to be playing on the fear of parents and queried the validity of the statistics provided. He considered that taking the 2016 Census into account, the statistics provided in the advertising had to be grossly exaggerated.
The advertisers said the information provided in their advertising had been provided directly from the Company concerned. They also said, however, that they would not refer to the statistics again in future marketing communications.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that while the advertising would be amended to remove the statistical claims, no substantiation had been provided for the claims. In the absence of substantiation the Committee considered the advertising to be in breach of Sections, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.
The Complaints Committee reminded all advertisers that there was an onus on them to be able to substantiate claims made by them in their advertising. In this case, however, as the advertisers had agreed not to use the claims again no further action was required.