Text and image combo constituted health claim, ASA rules

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The Advertising Standards Agency has ruled that an advertisement for Bach Rescue Night used an unauthorised health claim.

The advertisement – which formed part of a national press campaign – featured the wording ‘I can’t switch off…The Rescue Night range helps your mind switch off, so you can enjoy a natural night’s sleep”. The ad also featured images of a crescent moon and stars on a dark blue background.

A complainant, a freelance journalist, challenged whether this wording, reinforced by the imagery, amounted to an unauthorised health claim under the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR).

A. Nelson & Co Ltd told the advertising watchdog that it had based the ad on the traditional use of white chesnut Bach Flower Essence and had not made a health claim for sleep. Instead, it said, the ad related to the traditional use of the Bach Flower Remedies – switching the mind off from unwanted, repetitive thoughts. The company added that it did not think that the claim “switch off the mind” would be considered a specific aspect of sleep, nor did the ad make any mention of a sedative action.

In its adjudication, the ASA acknowledged the advertiser’s assertion that its ad had not made specific claims to aid sleep, or that it improved sleep. But the watchdog considered that the combination of visuals such as the moon and stars, the use of the letter ‘O’ in the word “off” – which it said resembled an on/off light switch – and the text “…you can enjoy a natural night’s sleep” would give the impression to consumers that the product would aid sleep. The ASA added while it recognised that ‘on hold’ NHCR claims for botanicals could be used in marketing, it was not aware that any claims for white chestnut had been entered onto the Register.

The ASA ruled that the ad therefore breached the advertising Code and said it should no appear again in its current form.








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