Coronavirus: Face masks advert banned over misleading claims about protection

An advert which “implied” a range of face masks could protect the wearer from coronavirus has been banned for being misleading.

Easylife Group Ltd’s advert published in The Sun newspaper on 9 May claimed its reusable and disposable masks provided users with “protection against bacteria and viruses”.

Text running alongside one of the three face mask products featured on the page also said its protective layers filter “95% of airborne particles”.

But in its ruling, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said it ” considered that consumers were likely to understand that all three products had the ability to protect the individual wearer from infection with COVID-19“.

It added the company had not provided “adequate evidence” to “substantiate the impression given by the ad” that the masks shown could help protect the user from coronavirus.

Text featured in the advert that read “support the NHS”, while also stating the products did not impact on the health service’s supplies, was also found to be misleading, the regulator said.

The ASA ruled the inclusion of text “implied the products were of a standard that could be used by the NHS, but had been sourced separately”.

“It further contributed to the overall impression that the products could protect the wearer,” the regulator said.

The ASA said Easylife Group Ltd had not specified the level to which the mask had been tested under European Standards, nor provided the test results.

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