Posted 15 November 2012
A consumer laid a complaint with the ASA against this product that claims to, among other, to “maximise overall brain health, function and longevity. It nourishes, protects and energises the brain, assists with fighting stress and fatigue, while also improving memory, mental awareness, clarity, focus and concentration”.
As Ultima was unable to support their claims with any evidence, they have been ordered to remove the offending claims.
|Ultimate Brain Fuel / HA Steinman / 20248|
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
P2 Life (Pty) Ltd Respondent
14 Nov 2012
Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against the respondent’s website advertising and packaging promoting its “Ultima Brain Fuel” product.
The advertising states, inter alia, as follows:
“Ulima’s Brain Fuel is a revolutionary 4 product in 1 formula that maximises overall brain health, function and longevity. It nourishes, protects and energises the brain, assists with fighting stress and fatigue, while also improving memory, mental awareness, clarity, focus and concentration”.
“Ultima’s Brain Fuel is the only brain formula to contain ALL the following, medically proven, potent, brain-boosting ingredients … [information is then provided on the ingredients and their claimed benefits]”
“Ultima’s Brain Fuel works on 4 levels:
Improves oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain
Fights fatigue, combats stress, protects and improves memory and concentration
Nourishes, protects and regenerates vital brain and nerve tissue as well as energises and provides anti-stress benefits
Provides essential brain nutrients to ensure proper brain function”.
“Who should use Ultima Brin Fuel?
Ultima Brain Fuel is Ideal for:
Metal fatigue and stress
Students preparing for exams
Working at night
In essence, the complainant submitted the claims are unsubstantiated and misleading to the average consumer. The complainant was of the view that the neither the individual ingredients nor the combination have had any efficacy for the claimed benefits. He explained that none of the evidence available for the individual ingredients on the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database support these kind of claims, with many contradicting any suggestion of efficacy.
He added that the claim “Ultima Brain Fuel is Ideal for: ADD/ADHD, Metal fatigue and stress, Forgetfulness, Students preparing for exams, Working at night, Mature adults, Health professionals” is also not supported by the evidence in support of the efficacy claims of the ingredients.
RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
The complainant identified the following clauses of the Code to be taken into account:
• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation
• Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims
Clear Copy, on behalf of the respondent, submitted that based on expert input from Doctor David van Velden, who has previously been accepted by the ASA, certain claims would be withdrawn with the hope of addressing the concerns raised by the complainant.
The following claims will be removed within the deadlines set out in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide:
“… medically proven, potent, brain boosting ingredients”,
The “Who should use” section,
“Ultima Brain Fuel protects and regenerates vital brain and nerve tissue”,
“Ultima Brain Fuel energises and provides anti stress benefits”,
“Ultima Brain Fuel provides essential brain nutrients to ensure proper brain function”.
The following claims will undergo material amendments based on Dr van Velden’s advice:
“Ulima’s Brain Fuel is a revolutionary 4 product in 1 formula that maximises overall brain health, function and longevity. It nourishes, protects and energises the brain, assists with fighting stress and fatigue, while also improving memory, mental awareness, clarity, focus and concentration”,
“Rhodiola Rosea is a herb proven to increase mental clarity and focus while also fighting mental fatigue and stress”,
“Ginko Biloba leaves maximise oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain”,
“Choline is an essential nutrient for proper brain function”,
“B Vitamins are critical to nourish, protect and regenerate vital brain and nerve tissue”,
“Phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine assist with age related memory impairment”,
“L-Tyrosine assists with improving concentration and alertness”,
“L-Arginine Pyroglutamate facilitates the potentiation of long term memory and increases attention span”,
“Ultima Brain Fuel improves oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain”,
“Ultima Brain Fuel fights fatigue, combats stress, protects and improves memory and concentration”.
ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.
The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking may, at the discretion of the ASA, be accepted without considering the merits of the matter.
The respondent submitted that certain claims in the advertising would be withdrawn and others amended in a material manner within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide.
As the respondent’s undertaking for the withdrawal and amendments of the claims in the advertising appear to address the complainant’s concerns, there is no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of the matter at this time.
The undertaking is therefore accepted on condition that the advertising is withdrawn and/or amended to ensure compliance with the Code within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, and is not used again in future.
The respondent’s attention is also drawn to the provisions of Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide, which requires it to withdraw or amend its claims in all media.