US-based Pruvit Ventures, found themselves in hot water over a website post, five Instagram posts and an Instagram highlights reel that featured the UK celebrity Danielle Lloyd.
“The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Pruvit Ventures Inc., ketonesupplement.co.uk, Danielle Lloyd and Cheryl Johnston not to market any Pruvit products which contained R-Beta-Hydroxybutyrate to UK consumers until such time as it was authorised as a novel food,” said the ASA.
Lloyd, a model and television personality, featured in an Instagram post that used the caption, “Join my drink Ketones 10-day challenge #energy #exogenousketones #bettermood #morefocus #multipatented #approved.”
Another post used the caption, “I joined @miss.ketones 10-day challenge and these are my results!!
“Am so pleased although I’ve only lost 5lb on the scales, you can see from my pictures my shape has changed dramatically.
“It was so easy 2 keto drinks a day and eat as normal. I lowered my carb intake to get the best results possible, but I did little to no exercise.”
In response Miss Ketones Ltd (Lloyd) said she was a team member for Pruvit and worked as a promoter for the brand.
She added that the claim that she had lost five pounds over the space of 10 days was a statement of fact and that she had not been aware that such claims were prohibited by the Code.
She was also unaware that Pruvit’s products contained the novel food R-Beta-Hydroxybutyrate and had now removed all posts related to the claims from the Miss Ketones’ account and her personal Instagram account.
Other offending posts included the Instagram Highlights reel that featured a number of posts about Pruvit’s products that used text stating, “I’ve heard this can help auto immune diseases?”
It continued, “…being in ketosis can help inflammation. We’ve seen people with skin conditions see improvement as well as other auto immune conditions.”
Responding, Pruvit said they had contacted Miss Ketones and Cheryl Johnston asking them to stop making the claims under investigation.
They had then received confirmation from those resellers that they had complied with the request and would remove their Instagram accounts from further advertising of Pruvit’s products.
CAP Code compliance
In summarising its decision, the ASA acknowledged Pruvit’s comments that ketonesupplement.co.uk, Lloyd and Johnston were independent, third-party resellers of their products.
“We noted that ketonesupplement.co.uk’s website contained a number of buttons labelled “Buy Ketones,” and “Shop Now,” which led to a Pruvit affiliate shop. The links in Lloyd and Johnston’s Instagram page bios also led to Pruvit affiliate shops.
“We understood that Pruvit directly paid its promoters for sales made through their affiliate shops, and that they received a commission for any sales generated by Pruvit from purchases made through their shops.
“The website, Instagram posts and Instagram Highlights reel promoting Pruvit’s products were therefore directly connected with the supply of goods provided by Pruvit and were ads for the purposes of the Code.”
Pruvit stated they had no direct input into or control over the ads, but we nonetheless considered that, as the direct beneficiaries of the marketing material through their affiliate programme, they were jointly responsible for the ads and their compliance with the CAP Code.