The UK’s advertising watchdog has given a socially distanced, liberally hand-sanitised slap to a firm marketing a gizmo it claimed could clear the air of the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease.
The online ad for the Go-Vi Eradicator 19 claimed to zap both airborne and surface nasties in a split second – which if true, should not be sniffed at. Snag is, someone at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did.
The regulator took a close mask-wearing look at the manufacturer's claim that it was “proven to destroy Coronavirus cells” and wanted to know more about this “air purification system” that, it was claimed, had been tested by independent laboratories.
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The ASA was not convinced by supporting evidence that the testing had been performed by boffins in France. Faced with so many doubts the ASA decided to question whether the claim that the product could destroy coronavirus cells was "misleading" and whether it "could be substantiated."
Given the opportunity to make its case, Go-Vi Ltd claimed its product “was effective at destroying Covid-19” and that it had been “tested by independent laboratories and was proven to be effective against the H5N1 virus and coronavirus”.
They supported their claim insisting the tests has been undertaken by a “laboratory in Florida which was accredited by the US Centers for Disease Control, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Agriculture, and Florida’s Department of Health”.
Still not content with their defence, the ASA told Go-Vi Ltd not to repeat their ad for the Go-Vi Eradicator 19 again. Or else. And they meant it. The threat seems to have worked. Go-Vi Ltd is "no longer promoting the product" and "their website was no longer live as a result of a change in their business model," said the ASA.
That website's URL? www.protect-nhs.co.uk (now a Shopify placeholder). Ahem.
The ASA has received an infestation of complaints about Covid-related ads in the last year or so.
The watchdog snarled at this one - a Glastonbury hippy shop Hemp in Avalon rapped for spouting "pandemic'" pseudoscience.
The ASA also took a dim view that taxis were a bubble-friendly way of getting around. ®