Rodial’s boob over online marketing

ASA’s extended control sees Rodial cautioned for Boob Job claims

The Advertising Standards Authority’s greater online control, which came into effect in March, has resulted in Rodial being taken to task over claims relating to its Boob Job product. On 5 July 2011, a number of testimonials were featured on the brand’s website, Rodial.co.uk, for example: “I didn’t see any noticeable results until around six or seven weeks after I started using Boob Job, but when the results did start to show they were amazing! I’ve gone from a 32A/B to a much fuller and firmer 32C,” attributed to an anonymous fan; “I went from a 34B to 34C and their [sic] a lot firmer and rounder,” attributed to Dianne Knoxe; and “Totally worth the money spent. Been a good number of weeks and I notice the effects very well. Was after about the 2nd week of twice daily use and I noticed a more firm feel to my breasts and the stretch marks I have are gone as they have filled out with the plumping… I am now a fuller, firmer and happier 36D,” attributed to Katie O.

A click through link – labelled ‘click here to see the Boob Job key ingredient clinicals’ – leads to the product page, featuring text stating: “Properties: Volufiline™ stimulates adipocyte differentiation and proliferation and promotes lipid storage leading to an increase of adipocyte volume in the fatty tissue… up to 8.4% improvement in volume.”

The complainant challenged, firstly, whether the efficacy claims in the testimonials, that the product had an effect on breast size and firmness, could be substantiated, and secondly, whether the claims for Volufiline could be substantiated. Thirdly, the ASA challenged whether the advert made unauthorised medicinal claims, as the ad implied the modification of human physiology by way of pharmacological and/or metabolic pathways. In addition, the MHRA confirmed that Volufiline was not licensed in the UK.

All complaints were upheld. The ASA noted that Rodial had not removed all customer testimonials containing efficacy claims from the website and that consumers would understand the statements to imply that the product had an effect on breast size and firmness. The authority also noted that it had not seen any documentary evidence in support of the claims and concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.

While Rodial did remove efficacy claims relating to Volufiline from its website, the ASA also upheld the second part of the complaint, as no documentary evidence was supplied in support of the efficacy claims.

Finally, the ASA considered claims like “Volufiline™ stimulates adipocyte differentiation and proliferation and promotes lipid storage leading to an increase of adipocyte volume in the fatty tissue” to imply the modification of human physiology by way of pharmacological and/or metabolic pathways. Because the ASA understood that the product was not licensed by the relevant authorities in the UK, it believed that the ad made unauthorised medicinal claims and also concluded the ad was in breach on that point.

The ASA concluded that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

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