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Tired of being tired? ASA rejects iron health claim complaint

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn , 05-Mar-2014
Last updated on 05-Mar-2014 at 14:20 GMT

ASA has received complaints over the advertisement of an iron supplement reading:
ASA has received complaints over the advertisement of an iron supplement reading: "TIRED OF BEING TIRED? ... Floradix with iron to help reduce tiredness and fatigue."

The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has rejected complaints that an advert for a liquid iron and vitamin formula purporting to “help reduce tiredness and fatigue" violates EU health claims regulation.

ASA received complaints about a poster for the Floradix liquid iron and vitamin formula from Bavarian company, Salus, which stated: "TIRED OF BEING TIRED? ... Floradix with iron to help reduce tiredness and fatigue."

The complainant challenged whether the claim "... with iron to help reduce tiredness and fatigue" was an authorised health claim in the EU Register and if the "TIRED OF BEING TIRED?" statement was a general health claim accompanied by a specific authorised health claim as required.

However, ASA said it considered the advertisement's question related to general health and well-being, without specifically referencing the substance which suggested that general benefit, and that the second part of the statement was an acceptable adaptation of an approved EU health claim.

What are you claiming?

ASA said Salus asserted that the advert’s question was not a health claim. In its ruling, ASA said: “Although we noted the claim was phrased as a query, and framed as a negative, we considered that in the context of the ad as a whole, consumers would interpret it to mean that the product would be 'good for tiredness'.”

It said the question was a general health claim which fell within the remits of its advertising code allowing references to general, non-specific health benefits, but only if those claims were accompanied by an authorised health claim.

ASA said it saw the second part of the advertisement ("with iron to help reduce tiredness and fatigue") as an acceptable adaptation of the authorised health claim

"iron contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue".

ASA said marketers could exercise “some flexibility” in rewording authorised claims providing the meaning was maintained and presented clearly and it did not exaggerate the originally agreed statement.

“We noted that the Department of Health's guidance referenced by Salus warned that when adapting the wording of an authorised claim, advertisers should take care not to make the claim 'stronger' than the authorised claim,” ASA said.

Therefore the agency said the first part of the statement (“Tired of being tired?”) coupled with this specific authorised health claim was admissible.

It said it understood that the product met and exceeded the minimum conditions of use for iron required to bear this claim. 

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