Nurofen in hot water over 'false claims' in UK TV ad

By Mieke Vlok
30 June 2016

The ad implied the product actively sought out and "targeted" the source of pain.

The manufacturers of the most popular painkillers in the world is in trouble after the Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that they are not allowed to advertise that their products target pain in specific areas of the body.

Nurofen markets a range of products which are apparently designed to target back pain, joint pain, migraines and menstrual cramps.

But UK courts ruled this kind of marketing is misleading because painkillers can’t actually find the source of pain in the body. The claims come after the airing of a British television advertisement for the company’s back and joint pain pills. The ad shows the painkillers moving through a woman’s body to tackle her back pain.

“Viewers were likely to infer that the product had a special mechanism or contained an active ingredient which made it especially effective for back and joint pain in comparison to other painkillers,” the ASA said.

“We understood the product was absorbed by the stomach and distributed to sources of pain wherever they may be located around the body via the bloodstream, and that there was no mechanism by which the product actively sought out the source of pain in a user’s back or joints.”

But in a statement to YOU, Nurofen South Africa said that the ruling has no implications on their products in South Africa because the back-and-joint painkillers are not available here.

“This case relates to the UK only and is not applicable to South Africa or any other country. This product range nor the advertising in question does not exist in South Africa.”

Read more: Gucci advert banned over ‘unhealthily thin’ model

It is being speculated that the ruling will influence the way in which painkillers are marketed in future.

“Nurofen is disappointed with the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision to uphold complaints about our Joint & Back Pain Relief TV advert in the UK.

"All TV advertising claims made in the UK are supported by robust evidence and approved by the relevant independent external agencies,” explains the statement further.

Sources: theguardian.com, www.asa.org.uk, iol.co.za,

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