In a recent case, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) considered claims made by Betta Life for a joint supplement for horses (PharmaQuin).
The advert for PharmaQuin on Betta Life’s website claimed that it was “the highest specification joint supplement” and that it had been formulated “to contain optimal quantities of every single ingredient, ensuring your horse receives the maximum possible benefit from this product.”
In response to challenges that the advert was misleading and the claims could not be substantiated, Betta Life produced a comparison chart for what it considered to be the most popular joint supplement brands on the market. It also produced a clinical study suggesting that the ratio of key ingredients in PharmaQuin was the optimal ratio for joint protection.
The ASA interpreted the first claim as meaning that PharmaQuin contained the highest quality ingredients compared to all other horse joint supplements on the market. Betta Life only produced a comparison with seven competing products, not all of those available on the market, so this claim had not been substantiated and so was misleading.
Betta Life fared no better in relation to the second claim. The ASA was critical of reliance on the clinical study, because this only featured 10 horses and only 3 of the ingredients of the supplement in the trial were common with those in PharmaQuin. It concluded that the claim could not be substantiated and so the advert was misleading.
The takeaway point is that, if you are going to make claims in your adverts, make sure you have substantive evidence to back them up.