Lab Grown Company to Challenge Ad Ruling

Lab Grown Company to Challenge Ad Ruling
Pic of Skydiamond ad supplied by ASA.

The founder of British lab grown company Skydiamond says he plans to appeal, after advertising watchdogs insisted he must use terms such as such as “synthetic”, “laboratory-grown” or “laboratory-created” to describe his products.

Dale Vince says he produces “the world’s first and only diamond made entirely from the sky” – using the sun, the wind, rain and atmospheric carbon – and any variant of “lab grown” would therefore be inaccurate.

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against Skydiamond in April, following a complaint from the Natural Diamond Council (NDC).

“We are disappointed with the way the ASA even began this,” Vince told the Financial Times. “It was clearly a competitor complaint and there is a different process for that.”

He said Skydiamond would be appealing the ASA decision and was ultimately prepared to seek judicial review – challenging the way the ASA had exercised its powers as a public body.

For the time being the company plans to use the term “man-made diamonds”, which is not among the descriptors deemed acceptable by the ASA.

The NDC submitted its complaint after Skydiamond took out double-page newspaper ads in February 2023 headlined: “Say hello to the world’s first and only diamond made entirely from the sky”.

Smaller text underneath stated: “We make diamonds using four natural ingredients, the sun, the wind, rain and something we have too much of, atmospheric carbon. In doing so, our technology turns a negative into a positive. Now that we can mine the sky, we never need to mine the earth again.”

The ASA subsequently ruled that Skydiamond must not misleadingly use the terms “diamonds”, “diamonds made entirely from the sky” and “Skydiamond” to describe their synthetic diamonds in isolation without a clear and prominent qualifier, such as “synthetic”, “laboratory-grown” or “laboratory-created”, or another way of clearly and prominently conveying the same meaning to consumers.

They must also avoid using the term “real diamonds”.

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