A TV advert which asserted that Actimel yoghurt supported children's natural defences against disease has been banned by the advertising watchdog.And they really took the evidence apart, too:
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that claims that it could help protect school-age youngsters against illness were not supported by evidence.
The company said eight studies were carried out on children up to the age of 16, two of which were carried out on hospitalised children in India who suffered acute diarrhoea or were taking gastritis-related medication.Pretty comprehensive.
The ASA ruled that these two studies could not be applied to healthy youngsters.
Two other trials were dismissed as the mean age in each of the sets of children under examination - six months and 15.5 months - were too young to apply to school-age children.
The watchdog also decided that no health benefits could be established in relation to asthmatic children, and a drop in the number of children with allergic rhinitis and diarrhoea was too small compared to the control group to prove Actimel was the cause.
A spokesman for Danone said its scientific claims were "sound and based on a large body of evidence".So they are understandably miffed at the ASA. Still, they have to keep us safe from misleading adverts, don’t they?
The spokesman added: "These studies are designed and approved by a board of internationally recognised experts with extensive, directly relevant experience in human clinical trials, effects of probiotics in the gut, paediatrics and immunology."
Hmmm, but as Mr Eugenides pointed out, they seem to have missed a rather bigger target:
” The Times has liberally papered London underground carriages with a fascinating new ad campaign. One poster shows a ship navigating some treacherous icy waters, with the accompanying copy reading:Odd that this hasn’t attracted the same attention, isn’t it?
“Climate change has allowed the Northeast Passage to be used as a commercial shipping route for the first time.”
Except, of course, this is horseshit, as twenty seconds with Google would have told them.”