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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Misleading advertising: a case study of a marketer's 'prescribed by doctors' slogan
Author:de Lange, Rudi
Periodical:Critical Arts: A Journal of Media Studies (ISSN 1992-6049)
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/02560046.2016.1187799
Abstract:Marketers of over-the-counter medication, nutraceuticals and products promoted as slimming aids often make use of medical endorsement to advertise their products. Consumers generally regard testimony from a medical doctor as credible and trustworthy due to the ethical standards associated with and expected from the medical profession. A reasonable consumer believes and expects that products endorsed by the medical profession are effective and safe to use. It is because of this trust in medical doctors that the Consumer Protection Act, the National Health Act, and regulations governing labelling prohibit marketers from claiming medical endorsement. Marketers who do claim such endorsement mislead consumers successfully and exploit their credulity. Advertising regulatory bodies act as gatekeepers against misleading commercial communication and normally rule against marketers who cannot substantiate their advertising claims. This article presents a case study where the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA), following a consumer complaint, ruled in favour of an advertiser who uses a slogan claiming medical endorsement, despite the fact that the marketing material violates existing Acts as well as the ethical code of the medical profession. This article explains why the ASASA ruling is flawed, and suggests amendments to its advertising code. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]