ASA kicks off 2019 with bans for P&G, Comparethemarket and Boohoo

Heinz, Nurofen and Optical Express among those to escape censure.

TV ads for Comparethemarket.com, Procter & Gamble’s dental-care brand Oral-B, Pfizer’s Nexium Control heartburn-relief product and fuel-efficiency device Cgon have all been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority as part of a raft of rulings this week.

The spot for Oral-B was an updated version, following a previous ASA ruling. The watchdog agreed with two people, including a dental nurse, who complained that claims the toothpaste could repair gum and enamel were medicinal claims for an unlicensed product and therefore breached the BCAP Code.

Comparethemarket’s ad, promoting its Meerkat Meals offer, was found to be misleading because it did not make clear that consumers would need a smartphone or tablet to take advantage of the offer.

Pfizer’s spot, promising 24-hour protection against heartburn, breached the code because it discouraged essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought, the ASA said, while Cgon’s ad made claims that were likely to mislead.

Boohoo, meanwhile, was one of two brands hit with a ban for a listing stating that a product was faux fur when it actually contained real fur. Complaints against the fashion brand, as well as Zacharia, were brought by Humane Society International.

It was not bans all round, however. Heinz Baked Beanz avoided a third ban in 14 months when the watchdog rejected six complaints that its TV ad implied eating baked beans could have a similar impact to exercise.

The ASA also disagreed with complaints that two separate TV ads for Nurofen were misleading due to claims about the duration and effectiveness of the painkiller. The watchdog also cleared a claim in a TV ad for Optical Express that "99% would recommend us to friends and family".

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