101 - Can you please clarify the relationship between the placement of balancing information and a product logo? It is unclear as to why the product logo must signify the 'end' of the main advertising message.

  • Section 9(1) of the Food and Drugs Act states that "No person shall ... advertise any drug in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety". Emphasizing the benefits of a drug without also emphasizing the risks can be viewed as misleading. The PAAB code requires that fair balance be presented prominently within the "advertising message portion" of the ad (PAAB s2.1.2).The principle here is that risks should not be conveyed in a manner suggesting that they are of secondary importance to the benefits. Positioning contributes to prominence. The fair balance should generally appear above the product logo as the main promotional messages typically appear above the product logo. It is important to note that this is not always the case. For example, there are situations in which the product logo appears in the middle of the main body copy containing claims. In such situations, the logo clearly does not mark the end of the main advertising message. Also keep in mind, that the PAAB considers several factors when assessing fair balance prominence. These include the ad content, the relative type size of the fair balance (along with font type, font style, and font effects), and the fair balance positioning in the ad. No single factor necessarily determines the acceptability of the overall prominence. For example, it is possible for font size/type/style/effect to compensate for non-ideal positioning. I suggest calling the PAAB office if you would like to discuss a specific case.