Flora TV ad complaints dismissed by ASA

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed complaints against a Flora TV campaign, which questioned the legitimacy of claims the spread contributes to consumer health.

The TV ad, by Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), showed a boy jumping over his garden wall at various stages of life. The voiceover said: "when I was little I had a theory, if I jumped the garden wall every day, I'd stay young forever."

It then promotes the blend of omega 3 and omega 6 in Flora products, claiming "Flora helps maintain a healthy heart". The ad is part of a wider campaign to get 100 million people across the world to take "heart age" tests.

One viewer questioned the health benefits of omega 3 and 6, citing an article published in 2009 that said there was "insufficient evidence" linking consumption of the substances with reduction in coronary heart disease.

Two further viewers challenged whether the Unilever-owned brand misleadingly implied that Flora had a long-term beneficial effect on heart health. Both complaints were dismissed by the ASA.

With the first complaint, the ASA cited the "prevailing scientific view" of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the declaration by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that there was a direct link established "between the dietary intake of omega 3 (ALA) and omega 6 (LA) and the reduction of blood cholesterol levels".

The ASA also dismissed the second complaint, as it interpreted the ad as implying Flora could help maintain heart health when combined with a healthy lifestyle.