ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Naturland RB&M Research
Naturland RB&M Research
3 Millers Close
3 September 2003
Health and beauty
London, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk, West Yorkshire
The Food Commission and members of the public objected to a direct mailing, which comprised a letter, a leaflet and an order form, for weight-loss supplements. The letter stated " ... Today for the first time there is a slimming treatment that''s guaranteed to help you lose up to 10 lbs per week (and in certain cases even more!) ... you have the opportunity to lose up to 10 lbs per week without changing your diet and no tiring exercises. What''s more you won''t put a single ounce back on ... you can eat and drink whatever you choose (with no restrictions) and thanks to Phytosol 9 your body will be completely unaffected by ... your indulgences. Your system will receive only what it actually needs as your fat simply melts away, leaving you with a superb figure ... The effects of Phytosol 9 are extremely rapid. From the very first 24 hours you can lose from 2 to 4 lbs (individual rates vary). And this occurs with no effort, no risk and no tiredness because once Phytosol 9 is absorbed into the system it acts immediately and continuously, night and day. So you even lose weight while you sleep ... ". The leaflet stated "Tests have proved Phytosol 9 eliminates fat: Much faster than with conventional appetite suppressants. Much faster than with starvation-inducing diets. Much faster than with sport and exhausting exercise routines ... The Anti Yo-Yo supplement enables your body to manage the weight loss effectively ... you will never need to worry about putting the weight back on again the awful yo-yo effect is permanently avoided ... Individual progress varies, but from the very first week you should lose: 6-7" from your stomach 3 to 6" from your hips 4 to 8" from your waist 5 to 8" from your buttocks 4 to 7" from your thighs ... ". The complainants challenged:
1. the efficacy of the products;
2. the claim "you will never need to worry about putting the weight back on again the awful yo-yo effect is permanently avoided";
3. whether the mailing breached the Code, because it referred to losing a specific amount of weight in a specific timeframe and from specific parts of the body and
4. whether the weight loss claims were in line with good medical and nutritional advice.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers stated that they had stopped printing and distributing the mailing in England. They sent a list of the ingredients in Phytosol 9; they asserted that those ingredients, especially papaya, grapefruit and pineapple, were known for their slimming properties. They maintained that the enzymes in the active ingredients of papaya, grapefruit and pineapple were used by the pharmaceutical industry for their dietary properties. They asserted that they had received many testimonials from satisfied customers. The Authority was extremely concerned that the mailing had been distributed but welcomed the advertisers'' assurance that the mailing had been withdrawn. Because the advertisers had sent no substantiation for their claims, the Authority concluded that the mailing was misleading. The Authority was concerned that the mailing contained claims that people could lose precise amounts of weight within specific periods and that weight could be lost from specific parts of the body. It considered that claims of weight loss of up to 10 lbs per week were irresponsible and contrary to good medical advice. The Authority reminded the advertisers that testimonials alone did not constitute substantiation and told the advertisers not to advertise efficacy claims for similar products unless they could provide evidence such as rigorous scientific trials on people. The Authority told them to consult the Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team before advertising again.