ASA Ruling on slimtoneplus.com
Azuero Business Centre
Panama 0601 00695
30 January 2013
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
A page on the website http://the-healthy-insider.com, which promoted weight loss supplements, was presented in the style of a news article and was headed "'Flat Belly' Raspberry Ketone Diet Exposed: Really A New Miracle Diet?" Further text stated "Stacie Reid, our Health and Diet columnist put the celebrity diet to the test. After four weeks of testing the effects of Great Britain's Newest Diet combined with a Colon Cleanse, she has reached the conclusion to what this diet is all about, and the results were surprising ... She lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks". Three sets of before and after photographs were displayed and text underneath one set of images stated "One blogger claims to have lost over 35 lbs in 40 days using the PureBerry Max & BodyCleanse combo". At the end of the article a quote attributed to Stacie stated "I lost 42lbs in 4 weeks, No Special Diet, No Intense Exercise. My friends hardly recognized me". There were links to websites offering a 'free trial' of the two products displayed throughout the ad.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because:
1. she did not believe the efficacy claims could be substantiated.
2. she did not believe it was clear that the ad was a marketing communication because it was presented in the style of a news article.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Slimtoneplus.com said they took the complaints seriously and that they would pass on our comments to their advertising agency to make sure that they complied with the Code in future because the current promotion would come to an end shortly. They did not provide any specific response to the points raised in the complaint.
The ASA noted that slimtoneplus.com had not provided any evidence to substantiate the efficacy claims in the ad, and we therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 13.1 (Weight control and slimming).
We considered that the presentation and content of the website implied that it was an editorial piece which had been written by an independent party. Because that was not the case, and the piece was not clearly marked as an advertorial, we considered it was not clear that the ad was a marketing communication and we concluded that it was misleading.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 2.1 and 2.4 (Recognition of marketing communications) and 3.1 (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told slimtoneplus.com to ensure that they held adequate substantiation for their claims, and to mark any advertorials clearly in future.