Global research, pharmaceutical and healthcare company GSK has been told by the ASA that its ad for MaxiNutrition should no longer appear in its current form, after a complaint was filed.
At the same time, eight complainants challenged whether Minerva’s ad for a collagen-based drink implied it could directly affect the quality of collagen in a consumers’ skin (see below).
GSK’s television ad made claims that the supplement could provide muscles with the proteins required to aid recovery, “helping make you stronger and perform better”.
In the television ad for MaxiNutrition, which was also used on GSK’s YouTube channel, people were shown taking part in various high-intensity sports, while a voiceover said: “Sometimes you need to dig deep.
“During hard exercise, breakdown happens deep inside your muscle fibres,” it continued.
While the voiceover was playing an animation depicted the muscles inside a boxer’s arm, which were shown to break down before reverting to their original form.
The voiceover then claimed MaxiNutrition helped with muscle recovery and said: “MaxiNutrition. You, stronger.”
The complainant challenged the claims, saying that they needed to be authorised by the EU’s health claim register.
GSK argued that two health claims for protein had been authorised by the EU, after a scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority.
In its defense
One approved health claim GSK used in its defence was: “Protein contributes to a growth in muscle mass" and the second was: “Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass."
However, it confirmed that not all of the products in the MaxiNutrition range contained protein.
The ASA upheld the complaint on the grounds that health claims could only apply to ingredients that appeared on the list of authorised health claims under EC Regulation 1924/2006.
“We noted that the claims ‘helps provide your muscles with the proteins they need to recover, helping make you stronger and perform better’ and ‘proteins aid muscle recovery’ did not appear on the list of authorised health claims in respect of protein,” said the ASA.
A GSK spokeswoman said: "The protein in our products has been scientifically proven to help grow and maintain muscles and our advertising was based on these EU approved health benefit claims.
"The term 'muscle recovery' is a widely used expression of these EU approved protein health claims and is commonly used by the sports food industry."