Magnesium Inflama Spray – ASA ruling

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Posted 18 April 2013

Platinum Lifestyle Products continues to scam consumers with a range of scam products, including Magnesium Inflama Spray. In this complaint, a consumer argued that this company continues to make false claims for this product without being able to prove the claims were true as required in a previous ASA ruling. The ASA agreed, the claims were still being made without any proof that they were valid. How do we know this product is a scam? Simply: there is no physiological way that adequate amounts of magnesium or the ingredients in this product will be absorbed through the skin, and secondly, treating the conditions listed with magnesium has zip evidence of benefiting. Purely thumb-suck nonsense.

Magnesium Inflama Spray / HA Steinman / 19028
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Platinum Lifestyle Products cc Respondent

14 Mar 2013

BACKGROUND
In Magnesium Inflama Spray / H Steinman / 19028 (30 July 2012) the Directorate found the respondent’s advertising as a whole communicated unsubstantiated efficacy claims for its “Magnesium Inflama Spray” product in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

The advertisement referred to the company as “BodyDetox”, and was headed “Spuit jou PYN weg!” (Spray your PAIN away!). It promoted the respondent’s “Magnesium Inflama SprayTM as a unique product containing magnesium from the Dead Sea, which is absorbed through the skin, and may help reduce “Suur” (Acid), “Verkalking” (Calcification), “Inflammasie” (Inflamation) and “Pyn” (Pain). It also listed the following conditions:

• “Hoofpyn/Migraine (headache / migraine)
• Geswelde Voete (swollen feet)
• Sportbeserings (sports injuries)
• Hoë bloeddruk (high blood pressure)
• Osteoporose (osteoporosis)
• Spatare (varicose veins)
• Rugpyn (back ache)
• Nekpyn (Neck pain)
• Artritis (Artritis)
• Sinusitis
• Allergieë (Allergies)
• Alle PYN (All PAIN)
• Sooibrand (heartburn)
• Cholesterol
• Waterretensie (water retention)
• Muskiet- of Insekbyte” (mosquito or insect bites)

The respondent was instructed to withdraw the advertising in its current format within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, and is not used again in future. The ruling specifically emphasised that Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide required it to withdraw its advertising from all media.

SUBSEQUENT TO THE RULING
On 28 November 2012, a complainant not party to the original dispute, Prof. Jobson and the original complainant, Dr Steinman, lodged breach complaints against the respondent’s website and poster on a notice-board outside a health shop in Grahamstown respectively.

In essence, it was submitted that similar claims are made on the website and the poster appear to be the same to those in the advertisement originally complained of.

A request for sanction was made by Prof. Jobson to be imposed on the respondent.

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the breach allegation the Directorate considered Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide (Enforcement of rulings) as relevant.

RESPONSE
All reasonable efforts were made to elicit a response from the advertiser, but none was received.

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

Clause 15.1 of the Procedural Guide states that “The responsibility for adherence to a ruling made by the Directorate or the ASA Committees lies with the person against whom such ruling has been made”.

In the absence of a response from the advertiser, the Directorate had no alternative but to consider the matter based on the submissions at hand.

The essential question before the Directorate is whether or not the respondent’s poster and website advertisements are in breach of the original ruling. For this to be the case, the advertisements would have to be the same, or materially similar to the one originally complained of.

A preliminary search on the respondent’s website, at the time of the breach allegation, revealed that similar claims appeared in contravention of the ASA Directorate previous ruling. The respondent failed to use the opportunity to explain or give reasons why the breach occurred. Similarly, the poster spotted outside the health shop communicates very much the same message as the original advertisement.

Both mediums of advertising still create an overwhelming impression that the product is able to treat or alleviate a host of conditions and ailments. To date, however, the respondent has not submitted any acceptable evidence for such claims.

As a result, the respondent appears to have disregarded the previous ruling and has therefore contravened the provisions of Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide.

The breach allegation is therefore upheld.

Given this, the complainant’s who brought the breach to the attention of the Directorate are hereby afforded ten working days from the date of this ruling to comment on whether or not sanctions are warranted and if so, which sanctions. After this period, the respondent will be afforded an equal opportunity.

 

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