Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA ) has upheld a complaint targeting TV and YouTube promotions for a teeth-whitening product and stated that the “ad must not appear again in its current form.” Fdd International Ltd. ran the ad showing a “woman smiling and a graphic of eight different shades of tooth colour” with a voiceover stating “White teeth whitening kit. Instant results in up to eight shades whiter, and clinically proven safe and effective.” The large text at the top of the screen stated “INSTANT results*” with smaller text at the bottom stating “*Instant results, up to 8 shades whiter after 1 application of 20 minutes.”

The company provided a copy of a study purportedly supporting its claims, as well as the underlying raw data, but ASA , noting that it was not peerreviewed, pointed to several shortcomings, including that (i) “it did not contain details or any calibration exercise undertaken by the investigator to demonstrate a consistent approach to assessing tooth colour,” (ii) it was not blinded, (iii) no control group was used, (iv) the investigator and participants “appeared to be aware of the objectives of the study,” and (v) the sample size of 25 participants was small and not likely sufficient “to deliver statistically significant results.” ASA also observed that the tooth-whitening scale used in the ad contained just eight shades of color, but was based on a shade guide containing16 incremental shades thus “exaggerating the possible degree of change that could be achieved from use of the product.”