After many of us would admit to consuming one too many mince pies over the Christmas break, the inevitable flurry of diet and weight-loss products has started to invade the advertising space and remind us that summer is not too far away. Each year (and in particular the first few months of each year) the ASA is asked to consider numerous claims surrounding advertising which promotes weight-loss products and techniques in a misleading or irresponsible manner. In anticipation of such claims, yesterday the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) published a short, helpful guide of what it calls “do’s and don’t’s” for advertisers. It is certainly worth reading the guide in full but here are a few takeaway points:
- Don’t claim people can lose a precise amount of weight in a set period of time, or that weight can be lost from specific parts of the body.
- Do hold evidence for your claims and explain how the diet or technology works.
- Remember that slimming claims relating to food are also considered health claims.
- Be careful when using testimonials to not promote irresponsible and unhealthy activity which may be seen as incompatible with good medical and nutritional practice.
The above is a snapshot of good practice guidelines to follow when making diet/weight-loss claims. Remember that advertising health products and making specific health-related claims are heavily regulated activities and we would always advise advertisers to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.