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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Magmisie advertisements could mislead

< previous | next > 13.02.2018

Magmisie advertisements could mislead
  • The advertisements of Magmisie, a dietary supplement, suggested that lack of magnesium is a common cause of children’s problems with concentration, and that it could be eliminated by eating jellies.
  • UOKiK came to the conclusion that such a message could mislead consumers.
  • The supplement’s manufacturer - Aflofarm Farmacja Polska – is obliged to correct the untrue information on TV, radio and online.

The Magmisie advertisements questioned by the Authority were broadcast on the TV, radio and Internet from April 2016 to March 2017. The spots prepared by the supplement’s manufacturer - Aflofarm Farmacja Polska from Pabianice – raised doubts of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection as early as in April 2016.

Misleading information

The main character appearing in the advertisements was a school counsellor. In the TV version, she told parents who brought a sad and tired son to them: - Parents often bring children who have problems with physical activity, concentration or irritation to me. Everybody is surprised that it’s caused by a low level of magnesium in children. How to prevent it? Give Magmisie to the child. Then the teacher opened a drawer in which she kept jellies, and the parents gave them to the boy. The child visibly cheered up - Children who use Magmisie are able to focus, are active and deal with stress well - the counsellor said.

- The advertisements suggested that lack of magnesium is a common cause of children’s problems with physical activity, concentration, and that it could be eliminated by eating jellies. However, the causes of those problems may vary, as is the case of the ways of solving them, e.g. a change of diet or lifestyle, a visit at a doctor. The advertising message could have contributed to weakening parents’ alertness and making them ignore the child’s condition - says Marek Niechciał, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

The fact that the advertisement is perceived in a non-ambiguous way is confirmed by
TNS Polska research, conducted at the request of UOKiK. According to 92% of the respondents, the boy feels better at the end of the scene.

Message written in small print

The narrator in the TV and Internet advertisement does not use even once the phrase dietary supplement. For 5 seconds, a message written in very small print ran at the bottom of the screen which informed that the dietary supplement is a food product. According to UOKiK, the average viewer did not stand a chance of becoming acquainted with that information without pausing the spot or even magnifying the text. At the same time, a big notice at the top of the screen said that the jellies are available at pharmacies. Consumers could get the wrong impression that it is a medicinal product.

- A reliable and true advertisement should provide the consumer with basic information about the product. What is such information is the fact that Magmisie is a dietary supplement, and, consequently, a food product which will not replace appropriate nutrition, and that it does not have medicinal properties. It is particularly important, as not all consumers are aware of the difference between dietary supplement and medicines – explains Marek Niechciał, the President of UOKiK.

School counsellor’s authority

The last allegation raised by UOKiK about Magmisie advertisements concerns the use of the school counsellor’s authority. According to the TNS Polska research, her recommendation convinces 68% of the parents who took part in the poll, as the profession is trusted by the public. However, providing medical advice is outside the school counsellor’s competence. A counsellor is expected to make an attempt at analysing a problem, talk about difficulties and refer a child to a specialist, e.g. doctor, rather than to recommend parapharmaceuticals.

The President of UOKiK has obliged Aflofarm Farmacja Polska to inform consumers about the fact that Magmisie advertisements could mislead them. The message is to be broadcast on TV (TVP1 and Polsat) and radio (RMF FM, Radio ZET, Programme 1 and 3 of the Polish Radio). Furthermore, within 2 weeks of the moment when the decision becomes valid, the message has to be posted on the company’s websites and stay there for 2 months.

This is not the first UOKiK’s decision against Aflofarm Farmacja Polska. In October 2017, the Authority imposed a fine of nearly PLN 26 million on the company. The reason? RenoPuren Zatoki Hot and RenoPuren Zatoki Junior dietary supplements were advertised in a manner suggestive of actual medical properties.

UOKiK keeps monitoring dietary supplement advertising. At its request, in the 2nd quarter of 2017 the market was controlled by the Trade Inspection Authority, which questioned 20% of the products - mainly due to their labelling.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office 
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone: 695 902 088
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

 

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