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Sunday 19 November 2017

Harrington eye-surgery ad banned on double

Fiona Ellis

AN ADVERTISING watchdog has banned a TV advertisement featuring Irish golf star Padraig Harrington.

The two-time Open golf winner featured in an advertisement for laser eye surgery provider Optical Express recommending the benefits of its laser eye surgery.

In the advertisement he said: "People often ask me: how can I improve my game? I tell them the secret is to stay focused. And of course it's important to have great vision. My advice? Visit Optical Express ... It could help your game too."

The ad was broadcast in Ireland and Britain.

Last year the ad was banned from Irish television and yesterday it suffered the same fate in Britain.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld 23 out of 25 complaints made against the campaign by rival laser eye surgery firm Ultralase.

The watchdog deemed the ad "misleading" and said it made viewers think Harrington got his laser eye surgery done with Optical Express.

"We understood, however, that although Padraig Harrington had undergone laser eye surgery, it had not been performed by Optical Express. We therefore concluded that the testimonial was misleading," the watchdog said.


The ASA also deemed a claim by Optical Express which said: "Our clinical excellence is well documented in leading research journals across Europe and the US" was misleading and the claim "It's official. More people choose Optical Express than any other laser eye surgery provider" was also misleading.

The ad was banned from appearing in its current form.

Last year the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) upheld two complaints against the ad. The complainant objected to the inference that Harrington had his laser eye surgery with Optical Express which he said was a falsehood.

Optical Express in their response said what Harrington was saying was that laser eye surgery could help the viewer's/listener's golf game "too" rather than helping their eyesight like his was helped.

The BAI considered the General Commercial Communications Code which prohibits health professionals or celebrities from endorsing medical procedures and products in a commercial communication and upheld the complaint.

Irish Independent

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