Vitaforce Forti Plus – ASA ruling

Posted 02 May 2012 

A consumer lodged a consumer complaint against Pharma Natura’s Internet advertisement promoting its Vitaforce Lifestages range.  The complainant submitted, in essence, that claims promoting the Vitaforce Lifestages range of products need scientific substantiation. He added that the asterisk statements also requires such substantiation especially for the phrases “additional protection”, “help to protect the body’s cells from damage”, “support the immune system” and “minimize the effect of aging”. 

The respondent addressed the merits of the matter but in a subsequent response stated that “all the statements that are raised by the complainant have been withdrawn or amended and will not be repeated”. 

 Vitaforce Forti Plus / R Jobson / 19039 Ruling of the : ASA Directorate In the matter between:

 M R Jobson         Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)

 Pharma Natura (Pty) Ltd               Respondent

26 Apr 2012

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6057 

 Prof Jobson lodged a consumer complaint against Pharma Natura’s Internet advertisement promoting its Vitaforce Lifestages range. The advertisement was published at http://pharmanatura.co.za/vitaforce-Lifestages.aspx

The advertisement, inter alia, contains a table setting out the following product-related information: 

  • “Ladyvite Teen Tabs 60 13-18yrs Promotes vitality and reduces symptoms of PMS.
  • Ladyvite Adult Tabs 60 * 18-45yrs Promotes energy and reproductive health.
  • Ladyvite Mature Tabs 60 * 45+yrs Contains powerful antioxidants to reduce effects of aging and promotes optimal health.
  • Mensvite Teen Tabs 60 13-18yrs Supports a healthy immune system, clear skin and provides energy and vitality.
  • Mensvite Adult Tabs 60 * 18-45yrs Promotes vitality and reproductive health Mensvite Mature Tabs 60 * 45+yrs Supports prostate and heart health.
  • 21-Plus Tabs 60 21+yrs Protects body from cell damage caused by smoking, alcohol and excessive sun exposure.
  • Forti-Plus Tabs 60 * 40+yrs Protects body from cell damage caused by smoking, alcohol and excessive sun exposure”. 

The asterisk used refers to a statement that reads:

 “The Adult and Mature formulas in Lifestages all contain the unique ‘Carovite’ complex which provides additional protection. The ‘Carovite’ complex contains key nutrients Beta Carotene, Lutein, Lycopene and Zeaxanthin which together with Vitamin C and Vitamin E, help to protect the body’s cells from damage and support the immune system and minimize the effects of aging”. 

COMPLAINT

The complainant submitted, in essence, that claims promoting the Vitaforce Lifestages range of products need scientific substantiation. He added that the asterisk statements also requires such substantiation especially for the phrases “additional protection”, “help to protect the body’s cells from damage”, “support the immune system” and “minimize the effect of aging”. 

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE In light of the complaint Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code (Substantiation) was considered relevant. 

RESPONSE

The respondent addressed the merits of the matter but in a subsequent response stated that “all the statements that are raised by the complainant have been withdrawn or amended and will not be repeated”. 

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, that undertaking is accepted without considering the merits of the matter. 

The respondent’s undertaking appears to address the complainants’ concerns and there is therefore no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of the matter at this time. 

The undertaking is accepted on condition that the claims disputed by the complainant are not used again in future in their current format. 

The respondent’s attention is also drawn to the provisions of Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide, which effectively require it to ensure compliance with this ruling across all media irrespective of whether or not the complainant took issue with that specific media.

 

 

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