More reports on: Pharmaceuticals, Marketing

UK advertising watchdog bans Nurofen ad for making false claims

01 July 2016

An ad for the anti-inflammatory drug Nurofen has been banned for making false claims about its effectiveness for joint and back pain.

In the television ad, a woman was showed taking Nurofen Joint and Back as an anatomical image showed it moved down her body and to her back.

The ad then featured shots of the woman going about her usual activities pain free, with interspersed anatomical images of her back with a Nurofen symbol indicating where the pain relief was acting. A voiceover said, "Just a single dose of Nurofen Joint and Back provides you with constant targeted pain relief for up to eight hours."

The ad prompted 18 viewers to complain that it had  misleadingly touted that the product specifically targeted joint and back pain.

According to RB UK Commercial, owner of the Nurofen brand, the ad did not state or imply that the product specifically targeted back pain, and the Nurofen symbol in the images was shown travelling through the woman's body in a "swirling" manner rather than directly to the source of the pain.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Nurofen symbol in the ad appeared to move down her digestive tract and to the source of pain.

The agency added, viewers would likely believe from the ad that Nurofen Joint and Back was specifically designed to relieve back and joint pain, rather than pain generally.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority said, "We also considered that viewers were likely to infer that the product had a special mechanism or contained an active ingredient which made it especially effective for back and joint pain in comparison to other painkillers."

RB UK Commercial has been told to ensure that the ad in its current form does not appear again.

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