When rebrands go wrong

(And how to avoid the pitfalls)

Reebok’s Lewis Hamilton ad banned by ASA

Reebok has been rapped by the advertising watchdog for a promotional leaflet featuring Lewis Hamilton that makes unsubstantiated claims for its Reezig ZigTech trainer.

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It’s the second time in six months Reebok has had an ad banned for unsubstantiated claims. In December the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against a TV campaign for its EasyTone Curve trainers.

The leaflet featured brand ambassador on the front holding a trainer with accompanying text stating “The energy drink for your feet”.

It went on to claim that “ZigTech apparel” was “engineered” with Celliant fibres that “take energy emitted by the body and recycle it back to the body through the skin … resulting in an increase of oxygen levels on an average of 7%.”

One complainant says that the claims made for Celliant fibres could not be substantiated and that the ad was misleading because it implied that the trainers were made with Celliant fibres.

Reebok defended the leaflet, saying that studies proved claims made about Celliant fibre and while ZigTech trainers were not made with the materials, Reebok Apparel products did contain Celliant. The company said the brochure was not just dedicated to the trainers.

The ASA says that it has not seen adequate evidence to substantiate the scientific claims.

The watchdog added that it was not clear which product or products the claims for Celliant fibres were being made in the leaflet but that, in the context of the ad, consumers might understand the claim referred to the trainers. It ruled that the ad must not appear again in this form.

A spokesmen for the Celliant manufacturer says: “At Hologenix, makers of Celliant, we take our science and our claims very seriously. Accordingly, Hologenix is in development of an additional study that addresses the issues raised by the ASA.  This new test will have a much larger population of subjects and will be a randomized, double-blind study, as they suggest. We look forward to sharing these results with the ASA and our customers, and are excited about the opportunity to once again prove the efficacy of our technology.”

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