ASA slams Bayer over Alka XS ads

Healthcare and chemicals group Bayer has come under fire for the second time in two weeks about an ad campaign for its Alka XS Go pain relief tablets.

The Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO campaign has been attacked by The World Hindu Association for ridiculing the Hindu faith. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint this week.

In an ad that appeared in the newspaper Metro, a man and a woman practising yoga have the word rubbish stamped across them. The World Hindu Association claims the ad implies that it was more beneficial for people to take caffeine than practice Hindu worship.

The ASA ruled the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and rejected Bayer’s argument that Metro readers would not generally associate yoga with Hinduism.

Last week, alcohol industry watchdog the Portman Group objected to a washroom poster, which formed part of the campaign, containing a muscular man with the word sad stamped across it.

The ASA agreed that the ad encouraged excessive drinking.

The ads formed part of a £1.4 m campaign that started in December. Alka XS Go was launched last June and contains caffeine and painkillers.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here