Plavsa Drops Reference to Untraceable Inventor

January 20, 2008 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

The distributors of the fishy slimming pill Plavsa have tweaked their banned ad and published a slightly reworded version in today’s Sunday Tribune and Irish Mail on Sunday magazines. They originally claimed that Plavsa was invented by a ‘Doctor Slausberg from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden’:

Plavsa Slausberg

However, when I contacted the University of Gothenburg, they had no record of such a person. Plavsa have now dropped the elusive doctor from the new version of the ad, and replaced him with anonymous ‘scientists’.

Plavsa Scientists

But neither this nor other tweaks in wording address the basic claims made and still implied in the ad – claims which they were unable to substantiate when challenged by Advertising Standards Authority. Here are the other changes they have made in the new version of the ad: >>>

Changed Testimonials

The original version of the ad included testimonials that made specific claims about the amount of weight you could lose using Plavsa:

Plavsa Testimonials

The new version of the ad has dropped the specific claims about how much weight you can lose, but it still implies the same level of weight loss by referring to dropping three dress sizes in four weeks, and claiming that this weight loss is only due to the Plavsa pills.

Plavsa New Testimonials

Bogus Testimonials

But that is not the only problem about these testimonials. They are identical, word-for-word, to the two testimonials in this online ad for a supposedly different product called Bonsal. However:

  • The Plavsa testimonial from ‘Jessica Jones (41) Sales Assistant’ appears in the Bonsal advert as coming from ‘Mary Miller (41) Sales Assistant.
  • The Plavsa testimonial from ‘Sarah Harris (49) Housewife’ appears in the Bonsal advert as coming from ‘Nancy Fisher (49), Housewife’.

If you right-click the images in the Bonsal ad, you will see that The ‘Nancy Fisher’ image, in which ‘Nancy’ is holding a pill, is named ‘fraumitpille-web’, which is German for ‘woman with pill’.

And both testimonials are copied almost verbatim from an American ad, first published in 2002, with the American-English words like ‘butt’ being replaced by British-English words like ‘bottom’, which was highlighted in a report by the US Federal Trade Commission.

Further Details on Plavsa

The active ingredient in Plavsa is chitosan, which has a controversial history as a slimming aid, including a different company making a $10m settlement for deceptive advertising in the USA. And independent tests have shown that chitosan does not do what the advertisers of Plavsa claim that it does.

You can read details about this American case, as well as the problems with Plavsa specifically and chitosan-based slimming pills generally, in these post from elsewhere on this site:

Advert for Fishy Slimming Pills is Banned
Fishy Claims of Slimming Pills that Soak Up Fat


Entry filed under: Ireland, News.

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.


Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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