UK ASA ruling: Wartner wart removal

The ASA considered that the ad, particularly the voice-over and on-screen text "Wartner freezes warts and verrucas to the core in one treatment", implied that Wartner would remove a wart or verruca in one treatment.

We noted the evidence did not prove that that was the case; rather the safety report and Wartner packaging stated that two or three treatments could be required and the testimonials did not comment on whether the product removed warts or verrucas in one treatment.

We considered that, because Wartner did not remove all warts or verrucas in one treatment, the ad was likely to mislead.

http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_45753.htm

ASA Adjudications Chefaro UK Ltd Bristol & West House Post Office Road Bournemouth BH1 1BL

Number of complaints: 1

Date: 11 February 2009

Media: Television Sector: Health and beauty Agency: Norris Lincoln Adcom Ad

A TV ad, for wart and verruca removal treatments. The ad showed a young boy being treated by his mother; the boy's voice-over stated "The doctor used to freeze my warts, now mum's found Wartner".

The ad showed an image of the product being sprayed on a wart; on-screen text stated "In 10 days the wart should disappear". Another voice-over stated "Effective and easy to use. Wartner freezes warts and verrucas to the core in one treatment". Pack shots of the warts and verruca treatment were shown on screen; on-screen text stated "Wartner freezes warts and verrucas to the core in one treatment".

Issue

The complainant, who had tried the verruca treatment several times on several people without it working, challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied the product was effective at removing verrucas in one treatment.

BCAP TV Advertising Code: 5.2.1;5.2.2;5.1 (old)

Response

Chefaro UK (Chefaro) pointed out that the ad stated that Wartner could freeze to the core in one treatment, not that it removed warts or verrucas in one treatment. They said the product might not have worked for the complainant if he had not applied it correctly. Clearcast said they had been sent a dossier of evidence on the product and were satisfied that it worked.

They said they had sent the evidence to their consultant who was also satisfied. Clearcast sent a copy of a CE certificate for Wartner, a test on the temperature it achieved, two testimonials from dermatologists, customer research, an expert report on product safety and the product packaging and instruction leaflet.

Assessment

Upheld
The ASA considered that the ad, particularly the voice-over and on-screen text "Wartner freezes warts and verrucas to the core in one treatment", implied that Wartner would remove a wart or verruca in one treatment. We noted the evidence did not prove that that was the case; rather the safety report and Wartner packaging stated that two or three treatments could be required and the testimonials did not comment on whether the product removed warts or verrucas in one treatment.

We considered that, because Wartner did not remove all warts or verrucas in one treatment, the ad was likely to mislead. The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising), 5.2.1 (Evidence) and 5.2.2 (Implications).

Action
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

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