As a result, the ASA has ordered all its members to stop broadcasting an animated TV advert that was at the heart of a complaint laid by consumer activist Dr Harris Steinman with the advertising watchdog.
It shows an overweight married man carrying paint, who struggles to climb the ladder. He eventually reaches the top of the roof to start painting, but the roof collapses under his weight and he lands in their bedroom. The man’s wife quips: “Boet, DIY doesn’t mean ‘destroy it yourself’. I told you to use Herbex.”
READ MORE: Focusing your workout to fight umkhaba
While the advert does carry a disclaimer that informs users that adjusting your lifestyle through a kilojoule-controlled diet and a healthy exercise plan is essentially the key to achieving and maintaining your ideal weight, Herbex claims that three key ingredients contained in its fat burner products for men, namely guarana, green tea leaves and Siberian ginseng, are the compounds responsible for promoting weight-loss.
In his complaint, Steinman argued there’s insufficient evidence to support a weight loss rating for green tea, while the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates Serbian ginseng as an appetite stimulant and not a fat burner.
“The European Food Safety Authority has found that, even at greater doses than that use in Fat Burn, there is no causal relationship between these products and weight-loss. The product only appears to supply 7% of a bag of green tea diluted in a litre of water, at best,” he argued.
“Herbex Fat Burn Concentrate for Men essentially claims that diluting between 7%-50% of a green tea bag and half a cup of coffee in 1 litre of water, to be drunk throughout the day, will result in weight-loss. There is no objective evidence to support these claims.”
The ruling was handed down unopposed after Herbex failed to respond to the complaint because the company is not an ASA member and as such, Herbex doesn’t recognise ASA as a body that has jurisdiction over it.
This case is not the first run-in Herbex has had with ASA.
Earlier this year, the ASA ruled against Herbex, banning an advert for the company’s Fat Attack product, after finding that claims made couldn’t be substantiated.