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ASA clamps down on anti-cellulite ad claims

By Simon Pitman , 21-Sep-2005

The UK Advertising Standards Agency has again clamped down on a print media campaign by leading beauty retailer Boots, stating that claims for a No 7 anti-cellulite treatment were misleading. The ruling follows a similar one against a L'Oreal anti-cellulite product last month.

The ad said that women could have 'a sleeker silhouette in two weeks', a claim that the ASA say is misleading. The ASA said that it had acted on a complaint from the public that the product could reduce cellulite and aided slimming, which was said to be too far fetched.

Boots said that an independent, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study backed the claims made in its ad. The study found that 78 per cent of participants reported that their silhouette had improved within the two week period.

 

Taking expert advice on the study, the ASA said it had been informed that to expect this kind of effect on the silhouette from a product that was essentially a mosituriser was too much to expect. The expert also pointed out that 73 per cent of participants using the placebo product in the study had also reported improvements in their silhouette after four weeks.

 

On the other hand, the ASA did not uphold a complaint about the use of the word 'SuperSlim' in the product advertising. The body said that it did not expect readers of the ad to believe that the product would aid weight loss.

 

In a press statement Boots defended its product and the advertising campaign, saying, "The No 7 SuperSlim product is the result of extensive research and development, supported by both scientific evidence and customer perception. We believe our claims to be wholly accurate and are disappointed that in the ASA's opinion, they failed to be convinced by the evidence supporting them."

 

The ASA ruling comes hot on the heels of a similar one made last month for an anti-cellulite product marketed by French cosmetics giant L'Oreal.

 

L'Oreal contracted Schiffer to promote its L'Oreal Perfect Slim and Wrinkle De-Crease brands using advertising agency McCann-Erickson to produce stylish television adverts extolling products' virtues.

 

But the ASA ruled that the claims made in the adverts for both products went too far.

 

The agency upheld two complaints made against Perfect Slim anti-cellulite treatment - the first that the product had been judged to be the best of its kind in an independent study and the second that 71 per cent of women had said it had visibly reduced the appearance of cellulite.

 

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