Three adverts which implied rehydration sachets could boost immunity and help cure Covid-19 have been banned by the advertising watchdog.
Revival Shots, founded by former The Apprentice contestant Daniel Elahi, has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over adverts on social media.
A Facebook advert and two adverts on Instagram posted in April were criticised by the body for implying that the brand’s rehydration powders could prevent, treat or cure diseases, including Covid-19.
The Facebook advert, which was also posted on the company’s Instagram account, featured text which said vitamin C was being tested in the US and China as a possible cure for the virus.
The post was accompanied by a caption which said each of their sachets featured 500mg of vitamin C.
The ASA said: “We considered the ad therefore implied that consuming Revival Shots could, through their vitamin C content, help to cure Covid-19.”
The second Instagram advert featured a review of one of Revival Shot’s products where the user said their headache stopped and their sore throat lessened within half an hour of drinking the soluble powder.
The ASA ruling said: “Given that the ad was posted in mid-April 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, referred to symptoms sometimes associated with Covid-19 and the reviewer’s ‘paranoia’ about those symptoms, and included the hashtag ‘#staysafe’ which was commonly associated with the pandemic, we considered consumers would understand that the claims in the review were intended to be understood to relate to Covid-19.
“We considered the ad therefore implied that Revival Shots could help to cure Covid-19. We considered that even if the ad was not taken to relate specifically to curing Covid-19 it nonetheless claimed that Revival Shots had cured a headache and sore throat.”
Revival Shots said all three adverts had been removed.
The non-broadcast advertising code prohibits adverts which state or imply foods can prevent, treat or cure disease, which also includes supplements and drinks.
The ASA wrote: “Because Covid-19, headaches, and sore throats were medical conditions, we considered that ad (a) stated, and ad (b) implied, that Revival Shots could cure human disease.”
The watchdog also found the company could not support claims that its product’s vitamin C content could boost immunity.
“Revival Shots had not provided any evidence to demonstrate that their products contained any vitamin in amounts sufficient that they could use any of those authorised health claims in advertising for their products,” the ASA ruling added.
“The ads must not appear again in the form complained about.”
The watchdog has told the company to ensure adverts did not state or imply their products could prevent, treat or cure diseases, including Covid-19.
The ASA said the case was “fast-tracked” as part of its focus on “prioritising and tackling ads that exploit health-related anxieties during the crisis”.
Mr Elahi said neither he nor Revival Shots had claimed the products could be used to treat or cure Covid-19, and that he did not change customer reviews when sharing their content.
He added: “Since the outbreak of Covid-19 I have had many friends who have started their own initiatives to support people on the frontline. I have personally donated cash and thousands of sticks to these projects.”