Ace your sports & exercise equipment ads

Barry Noone, Teleshopping Copy Group Exec

You know summer has well and truly arrived when Wimbledon kicks off. As well as tennis, summer brings all sorts of sports to the fore, with lots of us wanting to play or simply hit the beach or park feeling fit, energetic and confident in our body.

We consider a lot of claims for fitness products and exercise programs and, while most are acceptable, some of these claims can be questionable. To help we’ve outlined some advice for advertising fitness products or programs.

If an ad for a fitness program includes a dietary or nutrition plan and your ad concentrates on weight loss, the ad will fall within the category of ‘weight loss’ products and Section 12 of the BCAP Code will apply. We’ll need to see full details of diets and eating plans and these may be forwarded to a consultant nutritionist to check that they’re safe to follow and nutritionally sound. If the ad just contains general fitness claims, with no reference to weight loss, then Section 12 won’t apply.

Love: Weight loss

Weight loss can only be attributed to diet and not to exercise. Claims such as ‘doing more reps really is the key to keeping me lean’ would not be acceptable.  Also claims such as ‘fat melting’ and ‘core shredding’ suggest a reduction in weight by inches or pounds so these are not be acceptable.

15: Results

Advertisers should advise viewers how long they should be working out to achieve results. For example, we would be likely to accept ‘from as little as 10 minutes a day, it could help you get fit, tone up and strengthen your whole body’, however something like ‘get super fit in less than 5 minutes per day’ would not be acceptable. Promises or predictions of specific weight loss are not allowed. We may ask for claims to be qualified with super imposed text, for example: ‘Results will vary based upon your start point and the amount of effort put into your workouts.’

30: Safety

We recognise that starting a fitness programme or using exercise equipment could be harmful for some people.  In some cases, we may ask advertisers to ensure they advise viewers to consult a doctor beforehand and to follow instructions properly.  For example: ‘Follow all instructions for safe use and consult your doctor if required.’

40: Denigration

Ok we know that your product may be a great way to get fit, but denigrating other options isn’t allowed. In any case, the viewer wants to know why your product is so good, not why others aren’t. 

Deuce: Superiority

There are many ways to get fit and healthy and what works for one person may not work for another person. Superiority claims such as ‘this is the ultimate way to get toned’ are not acceptable, however claiming ‘this is one of the best ways to get fit’ would be fine.

Game: Personal trainers

We accept that there are many great fitness programs which provide excellent instructions, however it’s unlikely that these will ever take the place of a professional personal trainer. We would suggest advertisers don’t claim their device is as good as having a personal trainer.

Set: Effort

Getting in shape requires consistent effort and motivation.  Advertisers should not suggest that results can be achieved without effort. We do not accept claims such as ‘the Body Bulger does all the work, so you don’t have to!’

Match: Exaggeration

While we accept that some claims are obviously puffery, advertisers must not over exaggerate the capability of their product. Claims such as ‘get results like you’ve never seen before’ would likely be an issue, however ‘get great results’ would be fine.

Championship: Specificity

Finally, please bear in mind that if you’re offering an exercise device (such as an abdominal machine[), claims should not be extended beyond the part of the body for which it is intended. Also for some submissions, we may need to send your evidence or claims to our consultant physiologist for evaluation.

If you have any questions about this blog or about advertising your exercise or sports equipment, please contact the Teleshopping Team on

2nd July 2019