Paid-for Google Ad for Red Light Therapy, seen on 15 January 2021 – ONLINE PPC
A website post and a paid-for Google ad promoting red light therapy were both banned for discouraging essential treatment for which medical supervision should be sought.
This is an example of how advertisers and agencies try to circumvent the advertising guidelines; if no one complains they can get away with it.
The website http://www.red-light-therapy.co.uk included a page with the heading “Red Light Therapy – Harness The Natural Power Of Light”. Under the sub-heading “PAIN RELIEF”, the text states “Reduces the inflammation and discomfort of a huge range of injuries and ailments. Combine the traditional use of infrared light with broader red wavelengths”.
The complainant challenged whether the ads:
1. made medical claims for a product that was not a CE-marked medical device; and
2. discouraged essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand those claims to be medical claims that the Red Light Therapy product could treat the symptoms and conditions listed. We assessed the certification provided by the advertiser. The CE certification referred to test standards related to electrical lighting and electromagnetic compatibility and did not demonstrate the product conformed with the relevant medical device regulations.
The decision was upheld by the ASA and the ad must not appear again in its current form.
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