A poster for a nutritional supplement stated "Wellman ADVANCED NUTRITION JUST FOR MEN" and featured World Champion swimmer Mark Foster. Further text stated "Wellman ® is an advanced range of nutritional products, tailored to the specific physiological and lifestyle requirements of men. It has helped top athletes like World Champion Swimmer Mark Foster stay ahead of the competition - and racing or not, it could do the same for you". Below this text the ad featured pack shots of "wellman original", "wellman sport" and "wellman 50+". Below the pack shots text stated, "Micronutrients as used by professionals".
The complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that the products significantly improved the athletic performance of top sports people.
Vitabiotics Ltd (Vitabiotics) said they strove to ensure that their marketing communications were accurate, fair and responsible and to comply with the CAP Code.
They said the poster had not claimed that Vitabiotics "significantly improved the athletic performance of top athletes" but only that it "helped" top athletes "stay ahead of the competition". Nevertheless, in addition to Mark Foster, they submitted personal testimonials from nine top athletes who stated that Vitabiotics had "helped", and in some cases even "improved" (which was not claimed in the ad), performance. The statement "Micronutrients as used by Professionals" stated only that the product was "used" by professionals.
The poster did not explicitly claim that the Vitabiotics range of nutritional supplements helped improve athletic performance of top sports people. The ASA did not consider the average consumer would interpret the poster as claiming the products were solely, or even largely, responsible for an improvement in the athletic performance of top sports people. The claim that the range of Vitabiotics products had "helped" top sports people like Mark Foster "stay ahead of the competition" was a milder claim that went no further than asserting that the products contributed positively to the athletes' efforts. We considered this was a reasonable claim on the basis that vitamin and nutrient supplements could be used to achieve and maintain a healthy and balanced diet. We also noted from the testimonials that top sports people had endorsed the products and believed that they "helped" their efforts.
Because we did not consider the poster implied that Vitabiotics could improve the athletic performance of top sports people, we concluded it had not breached the Code.
We investigated the poster under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 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) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.