Brexit catches out UK-based supplement firms with updated ad Code

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Brexit catches out supplement firms with updated ad Code

Related tags Asa PBO Skincare Lyma Life

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has called to account two UK-based supplement firms that have fallen foul of new Code rules, updated to reflect the country’s exit from the European Union in December 2020.

In the rulings, Lyma Life and PBO Skincare removed the offending material after health claims made in their ads did not feature on the Great Britain nutrition and health claims register (the GB Register) – a rule that came into force on 1 January 2021.

In the case of Lyma Life, a London-based supplement maker, its pre-roll YouTube ad, seen on 27 March 2021, included customer testimonials suggesting a food supplement could reduce stress and anxiety as well as lesson pain amongst other claims.

Responding to ASA’s decision, Lyma Life said they had removed the YouTube video, pointing out claims complained about were from users of social media platforms and independent editorial which also flashed on-screen during the ad.

The firm added they would put a new process in place to validate consumer comments.

They also said some of the comments in the ad were spoken by a LYMA employee and said that future claims relating to a LYMA employee’s own experience would not be used in marketing communications.

PBO Skincare’s Instagram

Meanwhile a post on PBO Skincare’s Instagram account for a food supplement, included the text, “How beautiful does Gaynor look after just 12 weeks using Revive Collagen, lines and wrinkles have drastically reduced.

“Her skin has become more plump, hydrated and her skin tone has improved. Your [sic] just one click a way [sic] from changing your skin forever”.

“The post also featured a ‘before’ and ‘after’ image of a woman. In the ‘after’ image her skin was significantly brighter and appeared to have fewer wrinkles, lines and sunspots.”

ASA agreed that the PBO Skincare, t/a Revive Collagen, were wrong to link the use of the product to an increase in skin hydration and a reduction in facial lines and wrinkles, plumper skin and improved skin tone.

“We considered the claim, “Her skin has become more […] hydrated” would be understood by consumers to mean that using the product would make their skin more hydrated,”​ ASA stated.

“Therefore, it would have a beneficial effect on skin function, particularly by protecting the skin against dehydration which aided in its function of providing a barrier.

“We therefore considered that the claim “Her skin has become more […] hydrated” was a specific health claim for the purposes of the Code.”

GB Register

ASA also pointed out that only specific health claims authorised on the GB Register were permitted under the Code, but they had not seen evidence that the claim had been authorised, therefore breaching the Code.

PBO Skincare’s assertion that the claims were from a testimonial signed by the customer held little water with ASA, who acknowledged the claims were genuine but considered a testimonial as ‘inadequate as evidence to substantiate the claims.’

“We needed to see evidence that demonstrated the efficacy of the product including scientifically robust studies,”​ they said.

“In the absence of such evidence, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.”

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