ASA Adjudication on R Robson Ltd
R Robson Ltd
The Clock House
26 August 2009
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
A leaflet, for a skin cream and an eye cream, stated “Age Logic Cellulaire Reverses the cellular aging process Revives skin cells that have become inactive over time. For the first time ever, in addition to nutritional elements essential to cellular life, vital cellular energy is supplied by ATP - the body’s most energy-rich molecule - combined with ACTINERGIE … Age Logic Yeux Diminishes wrinkles and crow’s feet Tones and “lifts” the eyelids”.
1. The complainant challenged whether the claim "Reverses the cellular aging process Revives skin cells that have become inactive over time" were misleading and could be substantiated.
2. The ASA challenged whether the claim "Diminishes wrinkles and crows feet" was misleading and could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
1. & 2. R Robson Ltd (R Robson) said that the leaflets had not been printed since 2006 and that there were no plans to print them again. They also said they had informed all of their beauty distributors to stop giving the leaflets out. They explained that there had been a mistake when translating the ad from the original French version to English and explained that the word "process" in the sentence "Reverses the cellular aging process" had been used in error. They said that they held evidence in the form of clinical trials to support the claims in the ad.
R Robson sent a patent application to show the effect on cellular renewal and oxygen consumption by combining ATP, a naturally occurring nucleotide, with an un-named product. They also supplied another study designed to evaluate cellular energy and renewal based on tests on cultured human skin, and a four-week study on each of the two advertised products, both of which were carried out on the faces of ten volunteers both morning and night.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA noted R Robson did not intend to repeat the ads.
We considered that the claims "Reverses the cellular aging process" for the skin cream and "diminishes wrinkles and crow's feet" for the eye cream suggested a more permanent effect than merely the temporary reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
The ASA took expert advice and understood from that advice that none of the supporting evidence seemed to assess cellular ageing and there were several problems with the methodology behind the trials. Our expert expressed concerns about the trials carried out on excised skin samples, because they did not detail where on the body the samples came from or why they were taken from donors, and that the trials did not detail the age of the donor, which was a significant factor when considering the health and elasticity of the samples prior to testing. He also explained that excised skin samples were slowly dying and that the effect of the product on such samples was not necessarily comparable to its potential effect on intact skin. Our expert also believed there were a number of problems with the trials on the two sets of women because neither was placebo controlled nor double blinded. He expressed further concerns about how the measurements were taken and the subsequent results reached. Our expert concluded that the results of the studies were therefore flawed.
The ASA considered that the evidence submitted by R Robson was not sufficiently robust to support the strong efficacy claims and concluded that the ad was misleading.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness), 50.1 and 50.7 (Health & beauty products and therapies - General).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We advised R Robson to seek advice from the CAP Copy Advice team before advertising again.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)