From The Times:
The advertisement was broadcast on Nepali TV, a Bengali-language satellite channel aimed at the Indian subcontinent but also available to viewers in Britain. The ASA's investigators spotted the advertisement on Nepali TV.
You may remember GSK were bust by two New Zealand School girls last year for claiming that their product, Ribena, "blackcurrants in Ribena have four times the vitamin C of oranges". The students - now 17 - decided in mid-2004 to test the vitamin C levels of their favourite juices, including Ribena, Just Juice and Arano, for a school project. They calculated that each 100ml of Ribena contained about 22mg of vitamin C.
The Commerce Commission said that although blackcurrants had more vitamin C than oranges, the same was not true of Ribena.
So here we are again, this time with Horlicks. As far as I was aware, Horlicks, was a malt drink to help make you sleep at night. Not so, it can now miraculously make you bigger, taller and sharper [though a GSK spokesman points out that... "the version of the product sold in Bangladesh was fortified and its health claims were supported by clinical studies done by the National Institute of Nutrition in India"]
So where is the study that makes these outrageous claims?
According to this article from the Hindu Times in 2005, GlaxoSmithKline attributes this claim to a recent study conducted by the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition and funded by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health Care. The institute tested the product among 869 kids from a boarding school, in which half the kids were served Horlicks continuously over a period of 14 months, while the rest were served a normal health drink (the brand name of which was not revealed).
"The kids were served similar food, asked to do similar physical exercises, and the result that emerged from the study established that those kids who were on Horlicks were significantly taller, sharper and stronger," says Shubhajit Sen, General Manager, Marketing (Nutritionals), GlaxoSmithKline Consumer.
I wonder if they also removed vegetables from some of those 829 kids diets just to make Horlicks look like it helped in their growth?
What a complete load of hokum and once again, GSK shows just how they will use children to push a product.
So, Does Horlicks really make kids taller, stronger and sharper?
This very same question was asked on Yahoo Questions & Answers.
Here are some of the answers from a very clued up public:
"Nope, it's all BS. Nothing can do that."
"Tut! Tut! You should not believe in advertisements. Of course you can try it and find it good, relishing and refreshing, you can continue it."
"No it's a fake thing. only the company use this for their advertisement and the rapid sales of their product. its only for publicity."
"Its just to attract the children and their parents to take it home with them and these qualities are natural in every child."
"No way they will never help, the best way to become taller stronger and sharper is to eat lots of vegetables"
Nothing ever ceases to amaze me in just how far the GSK Marketing Team will go to sell one of it's products. What amazes me even more is how they are allowed, time and time again, to get away with it!
Read the new book, The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal
By Bob Fiddaman
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