DC's Improbable Science

Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science

DC's Improbable Science header image 2

Boots zapped by Advertising Standards Authority

May 14th, 2008 · 6 Comments

After writing the recent post Boots reaches new level of dishonesty with CoQ10 promotion, I sent a complaint about the dishonesty of the advertisements to the Advertising Standards Authority. I got a surprsingly fast response. On April 22 I got

“it appears you have a valid point and, with a view to acting quickly, have asked Boots to change their ad. We have asked them to remove the claims that CoQ1 0 can create “a spring in your step” and “boost energy levels”. Provided we get an assurance from the advertisers that they will change their ad, we will close the case.”

Then on 1 May, the ASA said

“We have now received a response from Boots and they have given us an assurance that they will not repeat the problematic claims for this product. We have therefore closed our file on that basis.”

Boots agreed to this request, so no full investigation will appear. That’s a win for reason, up to a point, but it also shows how toothless the rules about advertising are. Boots launch a big promotion with advertisements that are simply not true. The promotion is over and they got clean away with it. All they get is a little publicised rap on the knuckles and no doubt they’ll do the same again next time.

Print Friendly

Tags: antiscience · Boots · conflict of interest · corruption · nutribollocks · PR · Prince of Wales · Uncategorized

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jdc325 // May 16, 2008 at 16:00

    Good stuff. I read something this week on the Quackometer blog about an ASA judgement on a supplements firm in the Channel Islands. It seems they’re all at it.
  • 2 Slartibartfast // May 19, 2008 at 09:24

    I had a similar experience with ASA over Neal’s Yard Remedies. I sent in their brochure and ASA said that it would not go to adjudication because the breaches of the code were so obvious. Further action would be taken but ASA refused to say what that would be, and there was no adjudication published. I remain baffled as to what if anything was done.
  • 3 Royal Pharmaceutical Society defends quackery // Jun 5, 2008 at 15:24

    […] These words don’t seem to accord with Boots’ mendacious advertisements for CoQ10 (which were condemned by the ASA). […]
  • 4 A very bad report: gamma minus for the vice-chancellor // Jun 19, 2008 at 21:32

    […] Advertising Standards Authority is good as far as it goes. They quickly told Boots Pharmacies to withdraw advertisements that claimed CoQ10 “increased vitality”. But they can exact no penalties and they can’t deal with lies that are told to you orally, […]
  • 5 The gripes of Rath // Sep 16, 2008 at 18:05

    […] in “Boots reaches new level of dishonesty with CoQ10 promotion” – their advertising was deemed improper by the ASA ).  It isn’t a recommended treatment for anything at all, but you certainly […]
  • 6 Mass placebocide attempt. The 10:23 campaign // Feb 4, 2010 at 22:31

    […] press release. Put mendacious advertisements in every newspaper. Eventually the advertisements are found to be inaccurate by the Advertising Standards Authority. Boots are told to stop using the advertisement, but suffer no penalty at all.  By that time […]

You must log in to post a comment.