NEWS: Asda falls foul of ITC again with TV ad

Asda has run into fresh trouble with TV watchdogs just a week after being forced to pull a commercial for cut-price medicines because it featured the former newsreader, Jan Leeming.

Asda has run into fresh trouble with TV watchdogs just a week after

being forced to pull a commercial for cut-price medicines because it

featured the former newsreader, Jan Leeming.



Now the supermarket chain has been told by the Independent Television

Commission that it must amend the replacement ad as well, or that too

will not run again.



Both ads, produced by Publicis, provoked complaints from the Royal

Pharmaceutical Society, which claimed the first was in breach of ITC

rules prohibiting celebrity endorsement of pharmaceutical products and

that the second was illegal.



The ITC, which initially said it had ‘no problem’ with the amended ad,

announced later that Asda had committed a ‘technical breach’ of its

regulations. The ad fails to include an instruction to consumers to read

the information contained within the package or on the label.



The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which represents 36,000 UK

pharmacists, claimed this week that the second ad was not only in breach

of the ITC codes, but also the 1968 Medicines Act by failing to include

the ‘always read the label’ advice.



The society is angered by what it claims has been a flouting of

advertising regulations by Asda and its failure to recognise the

importance to consumers of clear information about medicines.



‘You can’t sell medicines like washing powder or sweets,’ Beverley

Parkin, a society executive, said. ‘We believe the ‘pile-it-high-sell-

it-cheap’ mentality is against consumers’ interests.’



Mark Robinson, the Publicis business development director, maintained

that the amended ad did not need to carry an instruction to read the

label because no claims were being made about the products advertised.



But the ITC said that some confusion had arisen because of European

legislation, and that its own code was clear.



Asda said this week that the amended ad was intended only to coincide

with the launch of its new range of medicinal products and there were no

plans to run it again. ‘If we do, we will ensure the commercial is

within the ITC code,’ a senior executive said.