Summary of Council decision:
Six issues were investigated, all of which were Upheld.
A website for RX Rejuvenex anti-aging products, www.rejuvenexnow-uk.com, was headed "RX rejuvenex ADVANCED MOISTURISING COMPLEX.. BETTER THAN BOTOX! INJECTION-FREE SOLUTION FOR YOUNGER SKIN".
Text stated "HOW DOES RX REJUVENEX WORK? Clinically proven results to reverse the aging process at the cellular level. Proprietary Biosphere combined with QuSome delivery allow for a molecule to be heavier and the shape of a sphere to make deeper penetration, to the lower levels of the skin. The walls of the penetrating Biofil spheres are made up of natural wheat protein. This allows for a more sustained release of nutrients, and the wheat acts like a sponge that captures trans-epidermal water loss, resulting in wrinkle reduction", "THE ALTERNATIVE TO HELP YOU LOOK YOUNGER WITHOUT HAVING TO GET INJECTIONS OR SURGERY" and "BYE BYE BOTOX! LOOK UP TO 10 YEARS YOUNGER IN 4 WEEKS!".
The web page gave details of how various ingredients in the product worked. Further text stated "SKIN SCIENCE STATISTICS In a recent study with beta glucan and its affect in regard to skin care, it was found that after 8 weeks and twice a day application several hundred women saw dramatic visible anti aging results. 60% Firmness and elasticity improvement 47% Improvement in fine lines and wrinkles 34% Increase in skin renewal rate 26% Improvement is [sic] skin color".
A number of before and after photos were featured in which the women appeared less wrinkled after using the product.
A free trial was offered and text stated "HURRY! LIMITED SUPPLIES!".
Hertfordshire County Council Trading Standards challenged whether:
1. the claim "Clinically proven results to reverse the aging process at the cellular level" could be substantiated;
2. the claim that users could look ten years younger after four weeks could be substantiated;
3. the ad misleadingly implied that users of the products could achieve the same or better results than undergoing Botox injections or surgery;
4. the "SKIN SCIENCE STATISTICS" were misleading and could be substantiated;
5. the before and after photos were genuine and accurately represented the results achievable with the product; and
6. the claim "HURRY! LIMITED SUPPLIES!" was misleading and could be substantiated.
Rejuvenex Direct UK Ltd (Rejuvenex) did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Rejuvenex's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
1., 2., 3., 4., 5. & 6. Upheld
We had not seen evidence to substantiate the claims that the product could reverse the aging process, that users of the product could look ten years younger after four weeks or that users of the product could achieve the same or better results than undergoing Botox injections or surgery. We had also not seen evidence that the before and after photos were genuine, that stocks were limited or that the skin science statistics could be substantiated.
We also considered that the claim that users of the products could achieve the same or better results than undergoing Botox injections was a medicinal one because Botox was a licensed medicinal product. The CAP Code stated that medicinal claims should not be made without a marketing authorisation. The MHRA confirmed that Rejuvenex was not an authorised medicinal product.
We concluded that, because the claims had not been substantiated and a medicinal claim was made for an unlicensed product, the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Ofcom must ensure that the standards from time to time in force under this section include:
a) minimum standards applicable to all programmes included in television and radio services; and
b) such other standards applicable to particular descriptions of programmes, or of television and radio services, as appeared to them appropriate for securing the standards objectives."
Section 319(5). (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Advertisements must not falsely imply that the advertiser is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession. Advertisements must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context. (Substantiation), 3.38 3.38 Advertisements that include comparisons with unidentifiable competitors must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, consumers. The elements of the comparison must not be selected to give the advertiser an unrepresentative advantage. (Other comparisons), 3.45 3.45 Testimonials or endorsements used in advertising must be genuine, unless they are obviously fictitious, and be supported by documentary evidence. Testimonials and endorsements must relate to the advertised product or service. Claims that are likely to be interpreted as factual and appear in advertisements must not mislead or be likely to mislead. and 3.47 3.47 Advertisements must not display a trust mark, quality mark or equivalent without the necessary authorisation. Advertisements must not claim that the advertiser (or any other entity referred to in the advertisement), the advertisement or the advertised product or service has been approved, endorsed or authorised by any person or body if it has not or without complying with the terms of the approval, endorsement or authorisation. (Endorsements and testimonials) and 12.1 12.1 Radio Central Copy Clearance – Radio broadcasters must ensure advertisements subject to this Section are centrally cleared.
and 12.7 12.7 Promises or predictions of specific weight loss are not acceptable for any slimming product. (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Rejuvenex not to repeat the claims investigated or to make medicinal claims for unlicensed products. We referred the matter to CAP's Compliance team.