Regulator takes 'non-scientific' Actimel ad off-air

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a TV ad for Actimel after a viewer complained about the ad's "scientific" claims.

The viewer felt the claim that Actimel was "scientifically proven to help support your kids’ defences" was inaccurate and questioned whether it could be substantiated.

Danone UK, which produces Actimel, said the brand's health benefits had been proven in 23 studies, eight of which had been on children up to 16 years of age. It added that the claim "scientifically proven" had featured in its Actimel ads since November 2007.

The ASA noted that the ad was likely to lead consumers to believe the product would protect kids against everyday childhood infections.

Danone supplied the regulator with the studies to support the ad’s claim. The children in one study were between six and 33 months old, and therefore of a considerably lower age-group than the target group of school-age children suggested by the ad.

The watchdog assessed each of the studies conducted by Danone, but found that the data did not adequately support the claim in the ad. For this reason, it concluded the ad was misleading and must not be broadcast again in its current form.