ASA ruling: Memoregain

This company claims that this product is the " ultimate brain nourisher. Improves memory and learning ability. Repairs and acclerates [sic] neuron growth and repair”.

As usual, not a shred of evidence to confirm these claims.

This is how the ASA ruled. . . claims

Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris SteinmanComplainant(s)/Appellant(s)
The Fountainhead (Pty) LtdRespondent

18 Jan 2010

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against a print advertisement featured in the Sunday Times Magazine during October 2009.

The advertisement promotes several of the respondent’s products, including its “Memoregain – for your brain”, for which it claims “The ultimate brain nourisher. Improves memory and learning ability. Repairs and acclerates [sic] neuron growth and repair”.

In essence, the complainant submitted that the claims in the advertisement require substantiation.

In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were taken into account:

• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation

• Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims

The respondent submitted that its product is a dietary supplement of 450mg, containing the Cistanche Glycosides and Echinacoside extracts from the root of organically harvested Cistanche Tubuslosa. There is a minimum of 10 years of clinical research on the extracts of Cistanche Tubuslosa. Some research articles on the efficacy of these extracts were also submitted

It added that it has received feedback from users of the product who have experienced remarkable results.

The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

Clause 4.1 of Section II states, inter alia, that advertisers shall hold documentary evidence to support all claims that are capable of objective substantiation. Furthermore, Clause 4.1.4 of Section II is specific regarding claims which are capable of substantiation. It states that documentary evidence, other than survey data, shall emanate from or be evaluated by a person or entity which is independent, credible and an expert in the particular field to which the claims relate.

The Directorate is not a technical or scientific body, and as such cannot interpret the information submitted to determine whether or not it sufficiently verifies the statements made. The Code therefore requires the respondent to submit substantiation that complies with the requirements stipulated in Clause 4.1 of Section II. In essence, what the Directorate requires is verification from an independent and credible expert in the field to confirm that the respondent’s product, as it is sold, is able to deliver the claimed results.

It is trite that substantiation should relate to the actual product being advertised, and the ASA will not accept ingredient-based substantiation for general claims about the product as a whole. The articles and information submitted carry no reference to the respondent or its product.

Given the absence of any independent, credible verification, there is nothing before the Directorate to unequivocally verify that the product is capable of achieving the claimed results.

Accordingly, the claim “The ultimate brain nourisher. Improves memory and learning ability. Repairs and acclerates [sic] neuron growth and repair” is currently unsubstantiated and in breach of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code. By virtue of this it is also misleading and in contravention of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II.

In light of the above finding, the respondent is required to:

  • Withdraw the claim;
  • The process to withdraw the claim must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of this ruling;
  • The withdrawal of the claim must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide;
  • The claim may not be used again in its current format in future.

In light of the above, it is not necessary to consider Clause 4.2.1 of Section II in relation to these claims at this time.

The complaint is upheld.

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