Nicoventures Trading Ltd is a company owned by British American Tobacco (BAT). Nicoventures carried an advert for its Vype brand on https://www.govype.com/uk/, in January. Johnson & Johnson swiftly reported it to ASA.
ASA is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media. It applies the Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP).
This isn’t the first time Johnson & Johnson has complained to ASA about Vype advertising. Last year, complaints about Vype advertising were upheld and Nicoventures were told to remove a video and not to repeat it in further promotions.
In this case, Johnson & Johnson believed there was something wrong about the following Nicoventure’ claims:
- “Tested by scientists”
- “Vype Pebble Cartridges Tingling Mint Combination of refreshing mint and vanilla notes with a cooling finish”
- “Vype Fruit Collection Discover the juicy Fruit Collection”
- “Vype Dessert Range”
- “Vype Smoothie Collection Mix things up with our Smoothie Collection eLiquids. Blends combining our familiar fruity flavours with sweet and creamy notes”
- “Vype Cool Collection ePen Cartridges Green Snap A fresh surge of minty juice and refreshing flavours, the Green Snap flavoured ePen Cartridges are a cool and refreshing new flavour”
- “CARAMEL MARSHMALLOW PREMIUM DESSERT RANGE”
- “COCONUT PANNA COTTA PREMIUM DESSERT RANGE A … infusion of a toasted … coconut …”
- “Vype eLiquid Apple Custard”
- “Vype ePen Cartridges Indigo Dive … the Indigo Dive ePen cartridges have a unique flavour”
- “Vype ePen Cartridges Scarlet Kick … The fresh menthol tones and fruity notes give a unique flavour”
- “Vype ePen Cartridges Strawberry Smash”
- “Vype ePen Cartridges Peach Swirl … the Peach Swirl ePen cartridge … Available in three different nicotine strengths for a smooth and refreshing vape”
- “Vype ePen Cartridges Honeydew Splash A fresh … vape … tasting just like a … juicy … melon …”
- “the Honeydew Splash ePen cartridge is available in three different nicotine strengths and can be enjoyed alone for a rich and … and smooth vape”
- “delivering rich vapour at the click of a button”
- “The eLiquid inside our flavour Caps is made in the UK with quality ingredients, to give you a smooth, satisfying vape”
- “Mix and Match across our e-Liquid range. Mix and Match prices are applied at checkout when you add 6 or more Vype refills to your basket”
- “Taste you can trust”
- “a vape you can trust”
Nicoventures argued that it had struck a fair balance between providing information needed to make an informed choice and making promotional statements. It also contented that it was making objective factual claims.
The complaint about the accuracy of statements 1-9 was thrown out immediately by ASA, “Factual claims about products are permitted on marketers’ own websites and, in certain circumstances, in other non-paid-for space online under the marketer’s control.”
But, under a different section of the code relating to the kind of language it’s possible to use, complaints about numbers 2 – 8 & 10 – 17 were upheld. ASA said: “We considered that many of the words and phrases included in the product listings went further than simple factual claims and constituted descriptive, promotional language.”
ASA suggested that Nicoventures looks at the Advertising Guidance and instructed it to remove the offending statements immediately.