Wednesday, 7 April 2010

*The Healthy Bowels Company - profiting from shit

The Healthy Bowels Company offers Lepicol, a product which they say will aid your defecation.

UPDATE, 21 July: The ASA published their adjudication today. My complaint was upheld in part.

This is definitely the last time I research bowel disruption advertisements ten minutes before eating dinner.

ASA complaint follows, which I recommend you don't read. Not until later.

"I write to complain about an advert in "Healthy" magazine (April 2010, Issue 77, p91). I understand that the magazine is sold exclusively in Holland & Barrett stores.

The advert, for The Healthy Bowels Company, promotes "Lepicol", a dietary supplement.

I suspect that the advert may be in breach of three sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code. I can provide an original copy of the advert by post, if required.

1. The CAP Code, Section 3.1, states "Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation."

2. The CAP Code, Section 50.1, states "Medical and scientific claims made about beauty and health-related products should be backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people..."

3. Under Sections 3.1 and 50.1, I challenge whether the advertiser holds documentary evidence to prove any of the following claims, and I challenge whether the claims are backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people:

(i) The direct claim that Lepicol can "make it easier to keep your bowels healthy"

(ii) In response to "Experts recommend we eat at least 35g of fibre every day", the direct claim that Lepicol is a "great source [of fibre]"

(iii) The direct claim that plant fibres in Lepicol form a gel which is "soothing for even the most sensitive of bowels"

(iv) The implied claim ("But fibre on its own is not enough to ensure healthy bowels. You also need a number of different strains of healthy bacteria. Lepicol itself contains 5 different cultures...") that a person should consume probiotics if they hope to have healthy bowels

4. The CAP Code, Section 50.5, states "Marketing communications should not suggest that any product is safe or effective merely because it is natural"

5. I challenge whether the advertiser is in breach of Section 50.5 when they state "But taking Lepicol, a totally natural product...can make it easier to keep your bowels healthy".

6. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, the magazine or with the alternative medicine industry in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the magazine.

7. I confirm that I am happy to be identified as the complainant."

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