AUTH/3148/1/19 - Complainant v GlaxoSmithKline

Online promotion of Seretide

  • Received
    09 January 2019
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    20 May 2019
  • No breach Clause(s)
  • Breach Clause(s)
  • Sanctions applied
    Undertaking received
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal
  • Review
    Published in the May 2020 Review

Case Summary

A complainant who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, complained about a Seretide Evohaler (fluticasone/salmeterol) advertisement in Pulse, which he/she had accessed via an iPad and a laptop.

The complainant noted that he/she could not see the ingredients of Seretide at the top of the advertisement.  He/she noted that it might be below the product logo at the bottom of the advertisement, but it was not legible; it was no better on a laptop screen.

The detailed response from GlaxoSmithKline is given below.

The Panel noted that the electronic advertisement consisted of four frames.

It was not clear whether the complainant had viewed the four frames and taken a screen shot of frame 2 or had only seen frame 2 due to technical issues which came to GlaxoSmithKline’s attention following the complaint.  The third party agency, unbeknown to GlaxoSmithKline, had arranged for frame 2 to be the static ‘back up’ frame that would be shown if there were problems with digital material when viewed on certain browsers.  The Panel considered that the ‘back up’ frame was in effect a separate advertisement for some viewers and thus should be treated as such.  The Panel decided to rule on each advertisement separately.

The Panel noted that frame 1 of the four frame advertisement included the non-proprietary name immediately adjacent to the first appearance of the brand name and this was legible and thus the Panel ruled no breach of the Code.

In relation to the advertisement which consisted solely of frame 2, the Panel noted that frame 2 included the product name twice, once as a heading and secondly as part of the brand logo at the bottom of the frame. The non-proprietary name was given but it was not immediately adjacent to the first appearance of the brand name and its appearance as part of the brand logo was not readily readable.  The Panel therefore ruled a breach of the Code.

The Panel ruled no breach of the Code as GlaxoSmithKline had not failed to maintain high standards.