Since I wrote about Alcopal a few months ago, I must admit that I haven’t kept my eye on its website (although this blog still gets a lot of hits via the search engines).
However, today I received a press release from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) listing its weekly adjudications, and Alcopal was one of them. It seems that the purveyors of Alcopal have been busy re-writing their claims on their website, because the ones that have been ruled against definitely weren’t there when the story first broke in the summer.
It seems that gobbledegook has become the order of the day, and the site was now advertising the following:
Be CAREFUL if you’re considering DRINKING then DRIVING Going out to celebrate or just having a good time? ‘Be Careful’ if you’re driving. Always take ALCO-PAL with you … Take the recommended dose and it could make all the difference if you’re breathalyzed [sic] ALCO-PAL helps to reduce the alcohol breath you expel from your lungs. Alcopal effectively reduces and prevents the absorbtion [sic] of alcohol from the inner lining of the stomach and intestine into the systemic flow (blood stream). This helps in reducing the burden on the liver and kidneys. Please note if you are way over the recommended alcohol limit this product will not help you.
How contradictory can you get? They actually state that it won’t help you if you’re over the limit, and yet they state that it can drop your breath-alcohol level to within-limit if it is outside! Of course, I explained why it didn’t work in my previous article.
The ASA has upheld the complaint from RoSPA and told Alcopal that they must not advertise this again. Note what ASA says in their ruling:
…while the ad included the text “Please note if you are way over the recommended alcohol limit this product will not help you”, its overall impression was that the product could help consumers bypass the law and that drinking and driving was therefore acceptable. We considered the text “Please note if you are way over the recommended alcohol limit this product will not help you” was likely to be interpreted as suggesting the product could help consumers who were over the legal limit for driving, provided they were not “way over”. We considered that text, combined with the other claims, encouraged consumers to drink and drive and thereby incited them to break the law. We also noted the ad suggested the effects of drinking alcohol could be masked. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising), 1.10 (Legality) and 4.6 (Harm and offence).
You can view the full ruling here.