An advert for formula milk has been banned for indirectly promoting its use from birth, a watchdog said yesterday.
The magazine ad for SMA Nutrition follow-on milk showed a baby pulling itself up on an armchair with a tagline reading: “For every stage, a formula.”
The ad also read: “The right nutrition is critical in a child's development. SMA follow-on milk, part of the SMA Gold System, contains Omega 3+6 and an improved protein balance.”
Three readers complained that SMA was “socially irresponsible” for indirectly promoting the use of formula for babies under six months and challenged the suggestion that Omega 3 and Omega 6 were critical to a child's development.
Advertising regulations make it illegal to advertise formula for babies under six months old or blur the distinction between infant and follow-on formula, which is made for older babies.
SMA said it did not believe the ad made either a direct or an implied health claim for Omega 3 and Omega 6.
It argued that the phrase, “For every stage, a formula” related to the overall theme of the ad which was based on “the creation of a fictional mathematical formula between the parent and the baby to encourage the baby to reach the next stage”.
SMA said that the ad clearly focused on the stages experienced by babies over six months.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.