British Advertising Standards Agency
Criticizes Rodale Books Ad

May 23, 2001

Advertiser: Rodale Ltd t/a Rodale Health Books 7-10 Chandos Street, London, W1G 9AD (direct mail ad)

Complaint:

Objection to a direct mailing that promoted a new health book. It stated ""PREVENTION'S HEALING WITH VITAMINS". The complainant challenged whether the advertisers' health claims and references to serious medical conditions breached the Codes including: 1. "Leading studies have uncovered a host of natural "wonder nutrients" that can help you: Slash your risk of cancer by up to 80%, Lower your cholesterol to 150 - and never worry about a heart attack again! Slow and even reverse the ageing process ... Dissolve arthritis pain from within your joints ... Dramatically sharpen your memory and brainpower - and protect yourself against Alzheimer's, Reduce your high blood pressure naturally ... Avoid cataracts and give your eyes a new lease on life - even fend off macular degeneration"; 2. "If you'd love to drop 10 to 20 pounds of fat faster than you ever believed possible you must learn about Mother Nature's greatest weight-reduction nutrient. It's called chromium, and it's a "superstar" on the weight-loss stage ... Chromium works at the cellular level to fire up your metabolic furnace ... At the same time, this marvellously healthy nutrient raises your HDL (good) cholesterol, while lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol. So it's wonderful for your heart and arteries, too!"; 3. "Chromium also improves the effectiveness of insulin, the hormone that allows cells to pick up glucose and which also dramatically affects your weight. For this reason, chromium is showing fabulous promise in preventing diabetes ..."; 4. "Literally dozens of scientific studies have shown that vitamin C can, if taken in the right amounts, help you: Block cancer from forming in your body, Keep your arteries running clean and open, free of deadly plaque build-up, Prevent cataracts and preserve your clear vision for as long as you live, Greatly reduce your odds of suffering a heart attack, Dramatically lessen and even eliminate arthritis and joint pain while building up strong new cartilage tissue and healthy ligaments, Boost your immune system ..., Keep your skin looking young, radiant and wrinkle-free ..."; 5."Did you know that vitamin A is Mother Nature's best 'spot remover'. It's the only vitamin shown to 'erase' age spots from your skin!"; and 6. "The Brazil nut is one of Mother Nature's most amazing health gifts from the rain forest. It can cut your risk of cancer by up to 75%, protect against heart disease and even prevent cataracts ...".

Codes Section: 2.2, 3.3, 6.1, 50.1, 50.3, 50.4, 50.5, 50.20, 50.21 (Ed 10)

Adjudication:

Complaint upheld
The advertisers sent copies of studies and articles about the health benefits of various vitamins and minerals to support the advertised claims. The Authority noted the information was not conclusive and did not support the claims for the vitamins, minerals, food products or medical conditions as advertised. It was concerned that the advertisers had mentioned serious medical conditions and reminded the advertisers that the Codes stated that advertisers: should hold scientific evidence for claims that their vitamins, minerals or food supplements were beneficial to health; could offer vitamin and mineral supplements to certain groups as a safeguard to help maintain good health but should not imply that those could be used to prevent or treat illness, elevate mood or enhance normal performance; and should not offer products for serious medical conditions. The Authority understood that the advertisers had sought copy advice from the Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team and was concerned that they had not followed that advice. Because the mailing offered advice on serious medical conditions and because it was not satisfied that the advertisers had substantiated the claims, the Authority told the advertisers to withdraw the mailing immediately and to take advice from the Copy Advice team before distributing more mailings.

This article was posted on March 15, 2005.

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