A Google paid-for search result for Prozis, an online sports nutrition store, seen in November 2017, stated "Shop now at the biggest online sports nutrition store in Europe".
The Hut.com Ltd, who owned the Myprotein brand, challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be substantiated.
Onsalesit, S.A. t/a Prozis stated that the claim could not be classified as a misleading marketing communication due to exaggeration as there was no mention of any specific product but only a reference to the rank position of the online store. They did not believe that the claim could be classified as a comparison with identifiable competitors because consumers would easily understand that it was based on the fact that www.prozis.com was a multi-brand selling platform. Therefore they did not consider that www.myprotein.com could be considered a competitor or that any identification of an identical multi-brand seller had ever been made. Prozis stated that, considering all European online multi-brand sports nutrition stores, they were the one that sold the largest number of brands as well as the largest number of individual products.
We considered consumers were likely to understand the claim “the biggest online sports nutrition store in Europe” to mean that Prozis was the leading online sports nutrition retailer in Europe, in terms of unit sales and/or turnover. We therefore expected to see evidence demonstrating how Prozis compared to the rest of the market. We noted Prozis' assertion that the comparison was against multi-brand selling platforms only. However, we considered that this was not made clear in the wording of the claim.
In any case, we had not been provided with any further information regarding the basis of the comparison, including how Prozis defined a "multi-brand selling platform". Neither had we been provided with any evidence comparing Prozis' sales to those of any other European online sports nutrition retailers, whether multi-brand or otherwise.
Because we had not seen any evidence to support the claim as consumers were likely to understand it, we concluded that it had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation), 3.11 3.11 Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product. (Exaggeration) and 3.33 3.33 Marketing communications that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product. (Comparisons with identifiable competitors).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Onsalesit, S.A. t/a Prozis not to claim to be “the biggest online sports nutrition store in Europe”, or make any similar claim likely to be interpreted as a leading claim, unless they held adequate comparative evidence to substantiate it.