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Product: Health & Beauty
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
The advertisers’ website displayed the following on various pages on its website:
Bottom of homepage:
“Hempture is IIHA approved.
Our products are EIRLAB tested.”
On the EIRLAB Tested webpage:
“Hempture products are lab tested by EIRLAB.
Eirlab, the industry leader in Cannabinoid & Hemp testing analytics in Ireland and the EU. “
The webpage also included an image of the Eirlab tested logo.
On the IIHA Approved webpage:
“In 2016 Hempture became the first company in Ireland to become IIHA Approved.
IIHA operates a series of quality assurance schemes for the CBD and Hemp industry. Our schemes are built on best practice in cultivation from seed to shelf.”
“The IIHA Approved seal is an internationally recognised, registered symbol for labelling HEMP products and services. For consumers, it is a simple and reliable guide to help them when they are shopping. With the IIHA Approved Seal companies promote transparency, quality and clarity. Standardised criteria and inspections ensure that the IIHA Approved Seal is a unique seal of quality for HEMP products and services all across Ireland and Europe.”
A catalogue included the following claims:
“Our products are EIRLAB TESTED. EIRLAB, the industry leader in Cannabinoid & Hemp analytics in Ireland.”
“EIRLAB reports represent the highest standard of reliability, consistency and integrity. CoA Lab Report verification is now available, providing you with an additional level of assurance for your hemp products.”
“We are IIHA APPROVED. All Hempture products are IIHA APPROVED. The IIHA approval scheme provides quality assurance and it plays a fundamental role in promoting quality Cannabis products to the consumer within Ireland. Legal support, funding and professional guidance for the Irish hemp industry.”
The complainant has objected to the following advertising claims on the Hempture website and catalogue –
• That Hempture have products certified by the IIHA
• That Hempture have products tested by EirLab
• That EirLab are the industry leader in Cannabinoid & Hemp testing analytics in Ireland and the EU.
• The IIHA APPROVED SEAL is an internationally recognised, registered symbol for labelling HEMP products and services. For consumers, it is a simple and reliable guide to help them when they are shopping. With the IIHA APPROVED SEAL companies promote transparency, quality and clarity. Standardised criteria and inspections ensure that the IIHA APPROVED SEAL is a unique seal of quality for HEMP products and services all across Ireland and Europe.
The complainant considered that the claims were misleading to consumers because they believed that Hempture, the IIHA and EirLab were all owned by the one company.
The advertisers failed to provide a response to the complaint.
The ASAI Executive researched the websites of the IIHA, Eirlab and the advertisers’ website. Information on the various websites stated:
1. The Irish Industrial Hemp Association (IIHA) homepage included the following statement:
“Irish Industrial Hemp Association. We are a non-profit body created to encouraging (sic) trade among hemp professionals. We are dedicated to the development of the domestic Irish industrial hemp industry.”
The homepage included a contact address.
The ‘About Us’ webpage included the following:
“The Irish Industrial Hemp Association (IIHA) is a non-profit entity created to encouraging (sic) trade among hemp professionals among our membership.
We support our members through integrated communications campaigns, networking events, business seminars, research and lobbying activities. We also educate consumers on the positive effects of buying from IIHA APPROVED Irish brands and businesses. “
Both webpages included a message thanking their partners for their support and stated:
“Produced with funding from the Irish Industrial Hemp Association (IIHA)”
Underneath was a list of various companies that included Eirlab and Hempture.
The home page of the advertisers’ website stated at the time of the complaint
" We work closely with our partners to bring you the largest range of Irish hemp products in the world.”
The webpage also included a message thanking their partners for their support and stated:
“Produced with funding from the Irish Industrial Hemp Association (IIHA)” followed by a list of various companies that included Eirlab and Hempture.
The home page stated, “Since 2017 EIRLAB have been providing Lab testing, Analytical & Certification services to the Pharmaceutical and food industries.”
A contact address was included on their homepage and the ASAI Executive noted that both the IIHA and Eirlab were based at the same address.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint. The Complaints Committee expressed concern at the advertisers’ failure to respond to the complaint. They reminded them that there is an onus on advertisers to ensure that their advertising is in conformity with the Code.
The Committee noted the Code requirements that a marketing communication should not mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise (4.1); nor should they exploit the credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of consumers (4.4); that marketing communications should not contain claims – whether direct or indirect, expressed or implied – which a consumer would be likely to regard as being objectively true unless the objective truth of the claims can be substantiated (4.9); and that relevant evidence should be sent without delay if requested by the ASAI and should be adequate to support both detailed claims and the overall impression created by the marketing communication (4.10).
The Complaints Committee noted the complaint that the impression created by the advertising was that the three companies were separate and independent of one another. The Committee noted ASAI Executive research which evidenced partnership associations between some of the organisations concerned, similarities in some appreciation messaging and some sharing of the same contact details. They further observed that evidence had not been received to demonstrate separateness between the three companies. In light of this and allied to the absence of a response to the complaint, the Committee concluded that the advertising was in breach of Code Sections 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10.
Action Required: The advertisement must not appear in the current form unless evidence is provided for the claims made in the advertising.