News » South Africa
A natural supplements company has been accused of cruelly exploiting a family’s grief over a fatal car accident to shamelessly plug its alleged hangover cure.
This week, Good Things Guy website founder Brent Lindeque tweeted his condolences to the family on the loss of his nephew in a car accident. Sob-Alert, the company plugging the hangover cure, responded that its product “prevents alcohol harm and hangovers and reduces violence”.
Lindeque responded angrily and so did many of his thousands of followers, including those who promised to report Sob-Alert to Twitter. Those who objected, however, were quickly blocked from following it on Twitter.
Strategic marketing specialist Sarah Brittan said although SA has some of the strictest regulations, supplements advertising were not regulated the way pharmaceuticals were, so manufacturers could make any claims.
“In addition, whoever is behind this account has been making cruel, insensitive and utterly inappropriate comments on the posts of people like Brent Lindeque. It crosses a line in multiple respects,” she said.
“I’d love to know what the medical aids that supposedly cover this product have to say about the claims they’re making.”
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In addition to claims that the product was approved by medical aids – without any substantiation – Sob-Alert’s website included assertions that it had resulted in a decline of alcohol-related violence – again without any proof.
I don’t normally swear online but this account – a South African brand – decided to punt themselves on a tweet about my nephew dying.Off is the direction I would like you to fuck @SobAlert.Like, what the actual fuck? pic.twitter.com/CctwRiMMq0— Brent Lindeque (@BrentLindeque) June 16, 2022
Following the Twitter row, the claims have been removed from the website.
Road safety experts believe Sob-Alert could be encouraging drunken driving, especially with its claims that those who use the product would not have any hangover and test negative the following day in a breathalyser test.
According to the Joburg metro police spokesperson Xolani Fihla, the message portrayed by the company may give consumers the idea that the immune system “boosting” tablets would make them sober after drinking a lot.
“I’ve never come across those pills, so I can’t explain exactly how they work, but anything that is done to defeat the ends of purpose is actually detrimental to any person especially the motorist. If you’re going to take something hoping it’s going to sober you up before you get to your next destination then it is very dangerous,” he said.
He said they were planning to probe Sob-Alert, its product, and the extent of its harm.
Sob-Alert failed to respond to queries at the time of going to press.
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