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Product: Health & Beauty
Advertiser: Go Life Ltd (OmegaBrite)
Medium: Internet (Social Media)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 8.8, 8.9, 8.11
Advertising on an influencer’s Instagram account approved by the brand featured the following information:
“AD Swipe up to learn more”.
The post was accompanied by a box of the OmegaBrite product. The writing on the top of the box referred to the fact that the product was a “Dietary Supplement” and “Pharmaceutical Quality”.
The centre of the box contained the following information:
Advanced Omega – 3 Formula for
mood, heart and joint health”.
The post also stated:
“I’m hooked! These are fab for your mood & cognitive function. I’ll share a few more benefits during the week.”
The complainant considered that the claim the food supplement was “fab for your mood and cognitive function” was both in breach of EU legislation and the ASAI Code.
The advertisers said that the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids to human health was well researched and comprehensively documented. They forwarded various studies which they considered demonstrated the general acceptance that Omega fatty acids were beneficial to human mood and cognitive function.
They said that the recommendation contained in the advertisement could not be interpreted as discouraging essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought. They said that the product packaging had clearly stated that the product was a “dietary supplementary”. They said there had been no indication that the product was beneficial for human mood and cognitive function. They reiterated that there had been no suggestion that users of the product should not seek essential treatment for such conditions.
The advertisers said that the wording of the advertisement had been clearly subjective in nature and that by the influencer using the words “I’m hooked” suggested that the product had been beneficial to her and not that the product would achieve success in every case.
The advertisers said they did not consider that their advertising had contained any ‘nutritional claims’ as defined in EC Regulations 1924/2006. They said that the wording used had not referred to the energy provided by the product, nor had it referred to the nutrients or other substances in it.
The ASAI Executive asked the advertisers to indicate precisely, where in the supporting documents provided, the substantiation for the claim made in their advertising lay. They also asked the advertisers for comments on the fact that "only health claims listed as authorised in the EU Register or claims that would have the same meaning to the consumer, may be used in marketing communications".
The advertisers made reference to a study conducted in the USA entitled Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity (1) compiled by Elsevier (2). They said that this study using Omegabrite had demonstrated a clinical reduction in stress through the intake of Omega 3s. They said the study indicated that students who received n-3 PUFAa (Omega-3s) showed a 14% decrease stimulated 1L-6 productions and a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to controls.
The advertisers did not provide further comments in relation to health claims (3) being used in advertising in conjunction with the EU Register.
The ASAI Executive noted that there were no authorised claims on the EU Register related to Omega-3 and mood or cognitive function.
(2) Elsevier is a global information analytics business specialising in science and health
(3) A health claim is any statement about a relationship between food and health https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/health_claims_en
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted the Code provision that only health claims listed as authorised in the EU Register, or claims that would have the same meaning to the consumer, may be used in marketing communications (8.8).
They noted that the advertisement had claimed that the product was “fab for your mood and cognitive function” and that there were no authorised claims on the EU Register for Omega 3 related to mood or cognitive function.
The Committee concluded that the advertising had breached Section 8.8 and 8.9 of the Code and upheld the complaint.
As the advertising had been removed no further action was required in the matter.