Amazon warned marcomms 'need to be more objective'

Amazon has been ordered to change the description of a children’s book hailing “the benefits of having measles”.

The controversy was over a description of a book called ‘Melanie’s Marvellous Measles’ on the retailer’s site. The product description labelled the book an educational tool and mirrored the advice in the book not to seek vaccinations against such conditions.  

“Often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all diseases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccine, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialised countries, these diseases are quite benign and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body,” read the description.  

This sparked a complaint arguing the description’s claims about vaccinations were misleading, could not be substantiated and discouraged essential treatment for a condition that required medical supervision.

The ASA backed the complainant, citing the World Health Organisation and the NHS’ advocacy of vaccinating against Measles, arguing the CAP Code stipulates marketers must not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought. 

“We told Amazon to ensure that their marketing communications did not imply that expressions of opinion were objective claims and did not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought,” reads the ruling. 

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