A national press ad for UK Direct Shop, an online retailer, seen on 20 August 2018, promoted a magnetic link bracelet with pain relief magnets. Text on the page stated “AS USED BY CELEBRITIES!”
The complainant challenged whether the claim “As used by celebrities” was misleading and could be substantiated.
UK Direct Shop Ltd said that the bracelet had been worn by celebrities but they did not have signed documentation to demonstrate that. They confirmed that they had removed the claim in question from their new ads. They said that they had implemented new procedures to ensure that the ad did not appear again.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claim "As used by celebrities" to mean that celebrities had used and endorsed the product featured in the ad.
The CAP Code required marketers to hold documentary evidence to demonstrate that an endorsement used in advertising was genuine, unless it was obviously fictitious, and to hold contact details for the person, who, or organisation, that gives it.
We had not seen evidence to show that the bracelet had been used or endorsed by any celebrities. We noted that the claim was presented in a definitive manner and considered that consumers were unlikely to regard it as fictitious. We concluded that because UK Direct Shop had not provided evidence to show that the endorsement was genuine, the claim had not been substantiated and was 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. (Substation) and 3.45 3.45 Marketers must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it. (Endorsements and testimonials).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told UK Direct Shop Ltd to ensure they held documentary evidence to demonstrate that testimonials and endorsements used in their advertising were genuine.