ASA ruling shows importance of accuracy

By Daniel Nolan topicIcon Copywriting

The importance of honest and accurate commercial copywriting has been underlined today as an advert which contained the words 'scientifically proven' was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support the claim.

The advert, for Actimel yogurt, featured a scene in which an animated bottle of the drink danced over a skipping rope, cheered on by youngsters. The voiceover stated that Actimel is "scientifically proven to help support your kids' defences," adding that "kids love Actimel and it's good for them too".

Over the second claim, the words 'SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN' were stamped across the screen.

This prompted a viewer to complain, which in turn led to a probe by the ASA. Finding the data offered by manufacturers Danone in support of the statement to be insufficient, ASA chief executive Guy Parker nevertheless mitigated: "We thought that their evidence fell short. It wasn't a million miles away, it wasn't actually bad evidence, compared to some that we see, but it wasn't good enough to prove the claim."

A spokesman for the drink's makers said they were "very disappointed" with the ruling.

The outcome underlines the importance for both offline and online marketing teams to ensure that copy in the material they distribute