ASA rejects doctor’s complaint over TV ad on relieving cold symptoms

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Children won’t drown when they are rinsing their noses to clear debris or mucus‚ the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled following a doctor’s complaint, reports The Times. Dr Ian Kennedy complained about the television commercial for Viral Choice that was aired on DStv Channel 117‚ which depicts a mother and her son in a bathroom illustrating a method to relieve the symptoms of a cold.

The mother says she is going to show the boy an age-old trick to relieve “nasty” cold symptoms. “All you gonna need is some warm salt water and a Neti pot. Stick the spout into nostrils‚ tilt the head and the gravity takes the wheel… Uh yes‚ and then breath through the mouth and let it flow‚ just like Mommy showed you… Let it flow.”

According to‚ a Neti pot is a container designed to rinse debris or mucus from your nasal cavity‚ often with a saline solution.

The son is angry and upset. The voice-over then says: “Make a smarter choice. Help prevent cold and flu from the start with the right choice. Viral Choice. SA’s no 1 choice for immune support.”

According to the report, Kennedy said the commercial should be withdrawn because children could imitate the mother’s trick which considers “totally unsafe as he (the son) could drown”.

Viral Choice questioned if the commercial disregards people’s safety in its depiction‚ because the son uses it under the adult supervision of his mother. The disclaimer in the commercial adds: “Do not try this at home without first consulting with your healthcare professional.”

The report says the ASA dismissed the complaint‚ because the voice-over is “very clear that the Neti pot procedure is not the correct way to fight a cold‚ and not something that should be.” It added the commercial entices customers to use Viral Choice‚ because the “Neti pot is set up as the ‘bad’ option. There is nothing in the commercial that would reasonably encourage people‚ let alone children‚ to use Neti pot.”

The report said the ASA found in their research the Neti pot if used correctly is “generally safe”.

The Times report

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