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Simply Slim / B Friis / 14445

Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Mrs Brenda Friis Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Simply Slim cc Respondent

18 Dec 2009

Mr Friis lodged a consumer complaint against a Simply Slim Internet advertisement promoting its slimming product. The advertisement was published at www.simplyslim.co.za.

The advertisement contains, inter alia, the wording “Do I need to exercise or go into an expensive diet? and “No not at all. We are the only company in the world that does not require an adjacent exercise or a diet programme.”

COMPLAINT
In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertisement is misleading by implying that consumers do not need any lifestyle changes when using the advertised product to loose weight.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the complaint the following clauses of the code were taken in to account:

• Section II, Clause 4.1 - Substantiation

• Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims

• Appendix E – Advertising for slimming

RESPONSE
All reasonable attempts were made by the ASA Directorate to elicit a response from the advertiser, but the advertiser failed to respond.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation as submitted by the complainant.
In the absence of a response from the advertiser, the Directorate had no alternative but to accept the complainant’s version of what occurred.

The advertisement states “Do I need to exercise or go into an expensive diet? and “No not at all. We are the only company in the world that does not require an adjacent exercise or a diet programme.”

The complainant submitted that that the advertisement is misleading by implying that consumers do not need any lifestyle changes when using the advertised product to lose weight.

Clause 2..3.1 of Appendix E states “Diet aids, such as foods, food substitutes or appetite depressants, may not be advertised except in terms which make clear they can only be effective when taken in conjunction with or as part of a kilojoule controlled diet. Due prominence should be given therefore, in all advertisements to the part played by the diet.”

The Directorate notes that the wording “We are the only company in the world that does not require an adjacent exercise or a diet programme” is in contradiction to the requirements of the Code, especially the requirements of Clause 2.3.1 of Appendix E.

In light of the above, the respondent’s Internet advertisement in contravention of Clause 2 of Appendix E.

The Directorate deems it unnecessary to consider Clauses 4.1 and 4.2.1 of Section II at this stage.

Given the above:

  • The advertisement must be withdrawn;

  • The process to withdraw the advertisement must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of this ruling;

  • The withdrawal of the advertisement must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide;

  • The advertisement may not be used again in its current format in future.

The respondent’s attention is drawn to the requirements of Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide.
In view of the fact that the respondent has failed to respond and an adverse ruling has been made, the ASA will issue an Ad Alert to its members with reference to the advertisement in question.

The complaint is upheld.

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