A paid for Facebook ad and a website for Cocoalocks.com seen in April 2017:
a. The Facebook ad showed an image of a woman holding the cocoa locks product and an image of her long hair and included text which stated "I Grew My Hair 7 Inches in 3 Months, Here's How I Did it ...".
b. The website www.cocoalocks.com, for Cocoalocks.com, , included claims such as “Longer, Stronger & Thicker Hair. Guaranteed”; “Clinically Proven Fast Hair Growth”; “I am in love with Cocoa Locks! I just finished up my 3 month program and my hair is longer, stronger and my hair grew 5 inches in the first 2 months”; and “Increased collagen production for extra strength, Decrease in hair loss, Increased speed in hair growth, Prevention of hair breakage”.
The complainant challenged whether the claims that the product could increase the speed of hair growth breached the CAP Code.
Cocoalocks.com acknowledged the complaint but did not provide a substantive response to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Cocoalock,com's lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, and ruled that they had breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.
According to EU Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods (the Regulation), which was reflected in the CAP Code, only health claims listed as authorised on the EU Register of nutrition and health claims (the Register) were permitted in marketing communications. Health claims could be made through the use of images and in the overall presentation of an ad as well as in text. However they were represented, health claims must be presented clearly and without exaggeration.
We considered consumers would understand the Facebook ad text "I Grew My Hair 7 Inches in 3 Months, Here's How I Did it ..." to mean that their hair would grow at an increased rate (compared to a normal rate) if they used the product as directed. We further considered that consumers would understand the additional website claims “Longer, Stronger & Thicker Hair. Guaranteed.”; “Clinically Proven Fast Hair Growth”; and “I am in love with Cocoa Locks! I just finished up my 3 month program and my hair is longer, stronger and my hair grew 5 inches in the first 2 months”; “Increased collagen production for extra strength”; “Decrease in hair loss”; “Increased speed in hair growth”; and “Prevention of hair breakage” to mean that their hair would grow at an increased rate, it would become stronger and there would be a reduction in hair loss, if they used the product as directed. As such, we considered that the claims were health claims for the purposes of the CAP Code.
Cocoalocks.com did not identify any authorised health claims on the Register relating to their product or any of its ingredients. In any case we noted that the health benefits stated in the advertising claims were much stronger than those in the few health claims relating to hair that were authorised on the Register.
Because the health claims in the advertising were not authorised on the Register, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 15.1 and 15.1.1 (Food, food supplements and associated health and nutrition claims).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Cocoalocks.com to remove the claims and ensure their future ads only made health claims which were listed as authorised on the EU Register. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.