ASA investigates Nurofen ad for false claims

The Advertising Standards Authority has confirmed it is investigating a Nurofen TV ad, as an Australian court bans a number of Reckitt Benckiser pain relief products for misleading customers.

Nurofen: ASA investigates Reckitt Benckiser brand's claims
Nurofen: ASA investigates Reckitt Benckiser brand's claims

The ASA received 12 complaints about a TV ad for Nurofen Express in February and began its investigation in March.

According to the regulatory body, the complaints challenged whether the ad misleads by implying the product directly targets muscles in the head. People have also questioned whether the claim "gives you faster headache relief than standard paracetamol or ibuprofen" is misleading.

A spokesman for the ASA said: "This is a complex case and our investigation is ongoing. The advertiser is providing evidence to substantiate its claims, we’re carefully assessing that and we’ll publish our findings in due course."

News of the investigation follows a decision by an Australian court to order RB to pull some its Nurofen products from shelves after finding that the British company was misleading consumers.

The court held that Nurofen’s specific pain products (for back pain, period pain etc) were identical despite claiming to do different things on the packaging. Australia’s Competition & Consumer Commission has given RB three months to remove the products from sale in the country. A separate court hearing will be held to decide if RB must pay a fine.

The ASA spokesman said the Australian court’s decision falls outside its jurisdiction and is a legal matter, not a regulatory one. He also reiterated that packaging information is not within the ASA's remit.

In July RB handed its global Nurofen business to Wieden & Kennedy London after a pitch that included the incumbent, Havas Worldwide.

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