“Hangover cure” drink found in breach of ASA Code

An advertorial for a drink that claims it can treat hangovers has been found in breach of the Advertising Standards Authority’s Code of Practice.

The advertorial for Bounce Back Drinks, which was published in The Scotsman on September 28 and October 3, 2019, was headed “Enjoy tonight, live tomorrow – get ready to bounce back”. Further text stated: “Bounce Back Drinks have launched the UK’s first After-Alcohol Revival Drinks – Bounce Back.”

The ASA challenged four issues, including the claim that “The business is fully compliant with … ASA regulations”, which could imply endorsement by the ASA; it also challenged the claims: ”The business is fully compliant with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)… regulations”, and “Bounce Back is the only drink in the UK with an authorised health claim by the EFSA that is supports normal liver function”, which it said implies endorsement or approval of the product by those bodies.

Thirdly, it questioned the stated and implied claims in the ad that the product could help hangovers because the idea that a food or drink could prevent, treat or cure disease is prohibited by the Code.

And finally, it questioned whether the specific health claim that the product had “a unique combination of amino acids, vitamins, minerals… specially selected to replenish nutrients and support liver function”, complied with the Code.

Bounce Back said it had spoken with the MHRA when developing the product. It said it intended the ad to convey that they had taken all the necessary measures to endure its product formulation and communications was compliant with relevant rules and regulations. It said it did not intend to imply it had endorsement, approval or authorisation from the named bodies.

Bounce Back also said its product was a health drink with a focus on general, wellbeing following alcohol consumption.  It also stated “After-Alcohol Revival” was not a claim but a suggestion for when the product should be consumed: post alcohol consumption, before bed.

The ASA concluded it had breached the Code over these issues, and on the latter point it stated: “We considered that the claim “After-Alcohol Revival Drink” would be understood by consumers to mean that the product could help to prevent, treat or cure a hangover, because it implied that the product could help to ‘revive’ people from the effects of alcohol consumption. We concluded, therefore, that the claim breached the Code.”

To conclude, the ASA ruled the ad must not appear again in the same form, and it is not allowed to use the claim “After-Alcohol Revival Drink”. Bounce Back Drinks was told not to refer to advice received from CAP or imply endorsement by the ASA or CAP in their marketing communications, or to claim that they, their advertising or their product had been approved, endorsed or authorised by any public or other body if it had not.”

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