Flat Tummy Tea, Health Claims Edition

September 14th, 2017

There may be nothing more unabashedly British than drinking tea (pinkie in, not out). This is no punch line: Brits collectively consume more than 60 billion cups of tea a year, the equivalent of two-and-a-half cups per person a day.

The marketers of Flat Tummy Tea recently found out just how seriously the British take their tea (whether they take it black or with milk and sugar) when an Instagram post by one of its social media influencers came before the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

At issue was whether this post by British TV personality Sophie Kasaei violated the ASA’s code of advertising on health claims. Kasaei stars in the British version of the American reality series/horror show “Jersey Shore,” called “Geordie Shore.”

The ASA said that the text “Nothings [sic] gonna get you flat the same as this tea will. The excuses are in the past, much like the water weight I used to have,” coupled with the apparent before-and-after image, conveyed the message that Flat Tummy Tea helps consumers reduce “water weight” en route to a “flat tummy” like the one pictured on the right. But (surprise) such a statement is not authorized on the EU Register on nutrition and health claims, and therefore is a breach of the ASA’s advertising code, the regulator found.

Also in violation of the code? The fact that when the ASA reached out to Flat Tummy Tea for scientific evidence in support of the health claims in question, the company said it didn’t have any. At which point the ASA banned the ad from appearing again in its current form.

But the marketers of Flat Tummy Tea must like their tea sweet because the lumps don’t end there. The ASA also told Flat Tummy Tea not to target Brits with ads containing health claims until it puts those health claims on the register.

A Tea-For-All

Like the small fish that swim with the sharks, detox tea or “teatox” companies have hitched themselves to a myriad of influencers to pitch their products on Instagram, despite the lack of science behind many of the purported benefits of drinking the tea.

If this particular detox tea sounds familiar, perhaps you’ve seen a Kardashian or two peddling the product — with or without disclosure that the post is a paid advertisement. (Read more about TINA.org’s investigation into deceptive social media posts by the Kardashian/Jenner sisters here.)

Returning readers may also remember Flat Tummy Tea from an ad alert we published earlier this year based on a previous ASA ruling against the company regarding a makeup blogger who forgot to #ad it.

Find more of our coverage on influencer marketing here.

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The Advertising Standards Authority, abbreviated ASA, is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media.

When an individual (or cute pet) promotes a good or service, primarily on social media, because they were paid to do so, or because of a material connection between the person (or pet) and the company

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