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HomeBusinessCompany shutting the door on coronavirus-themed ad campaign

Company shutting the door on coronavirus-themed ad campaign

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Bob Mackin

A Surrey company that claimed its product could help prevent coronavirus says it is ending the ad campaign and pausing operations.

(NRP Organics)

NRP Organics sent door hanger ads via Canada Post to select neighbourhoods in Richmond, New Westminster and Vancouver.

One side features Corona Virus and COVID19 in bold letters, sandwiching a photograph of a healthcare worker in protective gear treating an Asian patient whose mouth and nose are covered by a mask. On the reverse, the words “Protect Yourself Now. Clinically Proven Anti-Viral,” referring to fulvic and humic beverage concentrates that NRP sells under the non-medicinal O Legado brand. A photograph of the door hanger was originally published in the Richmond News.

There is no vaccine or other product yet that is proven to prevent or cure the virus, which is the subject of the World Health Organization’s March 11 pandemic declaration.

After a query from theBreaker.news, an anonymous email reply from NRP said: “The information presented regarding Covid-19 was intended to be helpful and was copied from the CDC website.” 

The NRP website, however, included a disclaimer that said “statements have not been evaluated by the Health Canada or U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to… cure or prevent any disease.”

NRP co-founder Sheila Randall denied the company attempted to mislead consumers. She conceded “in retrospect, that probably wasn’t the best choice of words.”

NRP Organics door hanger that used the coronavirus pandemic to sell its product (Richmond News)

“People use all kinds of things, from fruits and vegetables and exercise, and this is just something that perhaps people haven’t heard of before, that can help their health and wellbeing,” Randall said.

The product sold for $88 a two-bottle set, but will not be advertised or sold for the time being. Co-founder James Rutherford said the company will instead observe non-essential work and social isolation recommendations from public health officials during the public health emergency.

“We’ll absolutely not be hanging any door hangers anymore, with exception of whatever’s in the system,” said co-founder James Rutherford. “There will be nothing new sent out.”

Rutherford is a real estate agent with Homelife Glenayre Realty in Abbotsford and the website was registered under the name of Walt Browne, broker/manager of the office. Browne denied involvement in both the company and website.

“I don’t know what they’re doing, I don’t know what they’re marketing, so this is all news to me,” said Browne when contacted by theBreaker.news

“We’ve got a few hundred domains on there, so when this one was registered it just went through that GoDaddy [account], we do all the domains for the offices and open houses and whatever we need,” Rutherford said. “He’s not connected with this in any way shape or form.”

After a phone interview with Randall and Rutherford, NRP Organics content disappeared from its domain and displayed a Shopify e-commerce template. 

On its website, under the heading of “How can I prevent getting infected,” B.C. Centre for Disease Control recommends social distancing, vigorous hand washing with hot water and soap, hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, and covering your mouth and nose to sneeze or cough.

As usual, the Better Business Bureau warns buyer beware. It recommends doing research and being wary of any miracle and all-natural product claims. “If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims, check with your doctor or other health care professional first,” according to the BBB.

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