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.
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.
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.
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