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In a ruling dated 1 July 2011, the ASA accepted an undertaking by the advertiser to stop using its advertisement promoting its weight loss product. This undertaking was accepted on condition that the advertisement was not used again in that format in future. Subsequently, in a ruling dated 11 October 2012, the advertiser was found to have breached the original ruling, in that it continued to make almost exactly the same unsupported claims that were subject of the original complaint.

The ASA pointed out that no substantiation for such weight loss claims had been presented and the parties were afforded an opportunity to comment on the issue of sanctions.

In a ruling dated 11 December 2012, after considering the submissions, the ASA imposed a sanction in terms of Clause 14.2 of the Procedural Guide. In terms of this sanction, the respondent was instructed to submit its amended advertising, along with copies of the previous rulings to the ACA Advisory Services for approval of any and all direct or implied weight loss claims. This is a once-off pre-clearance sanction.

Members are therefore requested not to accept any Simillimum advertising from Dr Francesca Swainston Clinic unless accompanied by confirmation from the ACA Advisory Services that the new advertisement is not in breach of the provisions of the Code or any previous rulings.

Please note that unless the Directorate issues a new ruling accepting substantiation for such claims, no weight loss claims are currently permitted for this product.

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