Unicorn badges may not repel head lice

As I write this blog post the ASA's official list of "Non-complying digital advertisers" is empty. However, the ASA have made their first ruling and it's been reported by Brand Republic. Here's the summary;

Unicorn badges may not repel head lice.

That's right. The ASA upheld a complaint made against the Maperton Trust by finding there was a lack of substantiation in health product claims. In particular, the trust's website claimed a device, a unicorn badge, would be effective in repelling head lice from children and adults.

The Maperton Trust, who are unfortunate in being the first the ASA has ruled on and therefore in the limelight, told Brand Republic;

We amended the wording to meet the requirements of the MHRA. Unfortunately this revised wording does not meet the requirements of the Advertising Standards Authority. We have altered the wording to meet one statutory body and are sure we can change it again to meet another statutory body.

‘We have had very good feedback from customers and the device is sold with a 90 day money back guarantee.

Thanks to Google, you can still find the offending page - which makes me wonder if some SMEs or charities like the Maperton Trust may struggle technically once the ASA makes a ruling.

Here's the offending text;

The 20 years research by The Maperton Trust, which is concerned with the holistic approach to health, has produced another winner to help people with a difficult health problem.

The Head Lice Repelling Unit (HELRU) is a small device using the latest technology to repel head lice from infesting children and adults. It is in the form of a badge of the Unicorn and is pinned to the clothing of the individual.

It is designed to be completely safe to the wearer. Its effect on head lice is to repel them.

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