OFT blasts Sport for false diet ads

The Office of Fair Trading has taken the unusual step of rapping Sport Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport, over misleading slimming ads.

The watchdog has ordered Sport Newspaper’s owner David Sullivan to sign undertakings preventing the future publication of misleading ads.

The undertakings were sought following the publication of an ad for Natural Herbal Slimfast in the Daily Sport and Fat Beater in the Sunday Sport in July last year.

The ads were part of promotions written by editorial staff and made claims of weight loss of “10lbs in a week” for Herbal Slimfast and a testimonial for Fat Beater claiming “the easiest 32lb I’ve lost”.

John Bridgeman, director general of of the OFT, says: “False claims about slimming products will inevitably lead to distress when the products fail to meet the claims.”

The OFT decided to request the undertakings after the promotions were referred to them by the Advertising Standards Authority.

If the undertakings are broken, the Director General can seek a High Court injunction to prevent the further publication of misleading ads.

It is rare for the OFT to take action against an advertiser. Last year it sought two sets of undertakings: one from Orange, to reduce its notice requirement for the mobile phone network in line with the rest of the telecoms industry, and one for a home work scheme.

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