‘Misleading and unsubstantiated’ advert for reusable copper face masks banned


An advert making "unsubstantiated claims" that a reusable copper face mask could kill coronavirus particles and protect its wearer has been banned for being misleading.

The Easylife Group Ltd advert appeared in The Sun newspaper on June 19, claiming the masks, infused with copper wire, provide "protection against bacteria and viruses".

It is the second advert from the Easylife Group that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned for being misleading, after another ad was placed in the same newspaper in August.

The latest ad said: "Protection plus – the mask that kills bacteria/viruses on contact."

The advertising watchdog ruled the ad was misleading
The advertising watchdog ruled the ad was misleading

It continued: "Attack is the best defence – and that's what this face mask proves. It doesn't just provide a passive barrier against bacteria, viruses, pollen, pollutants, dust particles etc – it takes positive action, destroying germs on contact.

"The secret is pure copper fibres infused in the polyester/spandex fibre."

The advertising watchdog ruled the ad was misleading because it inferred the covering had a protective benefit on the wearer.

Public Health England has said wearing a face mask does not protect the wearer but may protect others from getting infected if the person wearing the mask has symptoms of Covid-19.

In order to make the claims, Easylife Group Ltd would need to prove the coverings had met the higher regulatory standards for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The ASA also said there was no evidence the copper created an effective barrier that would protect the wearer by instantaneously killing particles of Covid-19.

The ASA said: "Marketers of face coverings and masks should not mislead consumers about the capabilities of their products, for example by giving the impression they would protect the wearer when there was little evidence that this was the case."

The Easylife Group Ltd told the ASA they had amended the ad since it was published, but the ruling said it "did not provide a substantive response to the complaint".

The ASA said it was "concerned by Easylife's lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code".

It continued: "We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our inquiries and told them to do so in future."