Ads for weight loss supplement firm Pruvit on the Instagram accounts of influencers Danielle Lloyd and Cheryl Johnston have been banned for making unauthorised health claims and for implying that the product could treat diseases.
The ads for Pruvit products, which were also seen on Instagram accounts for Miss Ketones, a separate profile for reality TV star Lloyd, and Hey Keyto Mama, a separate profile for Johnston, drew four complaints, including one from Vale of Glamorgan Council trading standards, that they made health claims that were not allowed under EU or UK rules.
One complainant challenged whether an ad referred to a rate or amount of weight loss which was prohibited by the code, and another complained that claims that the product decreased inflammation broke rules that say food products cannot be advertised as treating, preventing or curing human disease.
Vale of Glamorgan Council trading standards challenged whether R-beta-hydroxybutyrate, which they understood was one of the ingredients, had the relevant authorisation for marketing, because they believed it was an unauthorised “novel” food that was not allowed to be advertised in the UK.
Pruvit said they were a US-based company and did not operate as a UK entity, and said the ads under investigation had been prepared by independent third-party resellers.
Pruvit said they contacted “Miss Ketones” and Cheryl Johnston asking them to stop making the claims under investigation, and had received confirmation that they had complied with the request and would remove their Instagram accounts from further advertising of Pruvit’s products.
Lloyd told the Advertising Standards Authority that she was a team member for Pruvit and worked as a promoter for the brand.
She said a claim in one of the ads that she had lost five pounds over the space of 10 days was a statement of fact, and that she had not been aware that such claims were prohibited by the Code.
She said that she had also been unaware that Pruvit’s products contained the novel food R-beta-hydroxybutyrate.
Lloyd said that she had now removed all posts related to the claims under investigation, and referring to Pruvit’s products generally, from the Miss Ketones’ account and her personal Instagram account.
Cheryl Johnston said that she had removed the relevant posts from both her personal account and her @heykeytomama account and would not be posting any similar claims again.
The ASA said it understood that Pruvit directly paid its promoters for sales made through their affiliate shops, and that they received a commission for any sales generated by Pruvit from purchases made through their shops.
It ruled that the ads must not appear again in the form complained about.
The ASA said: “We told Pruvit Ventures, ketonesupplement.co.uk, Danielle Lloyd and Cheryl Johnston not to market any Pruvit products which contained R-beta-hydroxybutyrate to UK consumers until such time as it was authorised as a novel food.
“We also told them to ensure that any specific health claims made in their future advertising were authorised on the GB Register and met the associated conditions of use; that their advertising did not refer to a rate or amount of weight loss and that their future ads did not state or imply that their food supplements could prevent, treat or cure human disease.”