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The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld the Obesity Health Alliance's complaints against advertisements for Kellogg Coco Pops Granola and a KFC milkshake. The organization asserted that both companies targeted ads for a product high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) to an audience under 16. The ad for Kellogg's Coco Pops Granola ran during a children's television show. Kellogg asserted that its granola is not an HFSS product, which ASA confirmed. "However, Coco Pops was a well-established brand, and Coco the Monkey, who was used to advertise all the products in the range, was also well-established as an equity brand character," ASA held. "We considered that many adults and children were likely to very strongly associate the Coco Pops brand and Coco the Monkey primarily with Coco Pops original cereal. At the time the ad was seen by the complainant Coco Pops original cereal was an HFSS product…

The National Advertising Division (NAD) has recommended that Perdue Farms Inc. modify or discontinue broadcast and YouTube advertisements for the company’s Harvestland Organic chicken, finding the ads could mislead consumers into believing all Perdue chicken is organically raised. NAD found that the company's “Free Range” and “All-Veggie Diet” ads featured “general brand references” to Perdue but only “momentary visual references to Harvestland Organic," potentially leading consumers to conflate the two. The ads, which asserted that Perdue's chickens are"happy," also “clearly stated the general claim, ‘Perdue, raising more organic chickens than anyone in America,’” NAD noted. The board further cited a consumer-perception survey submitted by Perdue, finding that “the survey showed that substantially more respondents took away a message about the Perdue brand, generally." "NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the broadcast and YouTube commercials or modify them – including the YouTube description copy – to make clear that the advertising pertains…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld an advocacy group's challenge to the use of the term “natural” by Pret A Manger but rejected a challenge to the company’s advertising claim that its breads are fresh-baked at each location. Ads on Pret A Manger’s website and Facebook page claimed that the chain makes “handmade natural food,” “avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives and preservatives common to so much of the ‘prepared’ and ‘fast food’ on the market.” Pret A Manger argued that the ads did not imply that it uses only natural ingredients or that its food is additive- and preservative-free; rather, the terminology was used to express the company's mission, which is partly to “avoid (as opposed to entirely eliminate) ‘obscure’ (as opposed to all)” chemicals. ASA upheld the challenge, determining that consumers were likely to interpret the claims to mean that the chain’s food was “natural” and free from…

After advocacy groups asserted that DJ Khaled promotes alcohol brands to minors on social media, the music producer has reportedly reduced the number of his posts that mention alcohol. The complaint also alleged that Khaled failed to disclose his endorsement relationship with the brands, which include Diageo's Ciroc vodka and Sovereign Brands' Belaire sparkling wine. The contested posts include a Snapchat video of Khaled pouring alcohol into a bowl of cereal and an Instagram post featuring alcohol bottles displayed behind Khaled. Reportedly, many of Khaled’s followers are minors and he is the national spokesperson for educational nonprofit Get Schooled. Several news sources reported that Khaled's posts may violate federal law—including Federal Trade Commission rules governing branded content—and industry self-regulation standards, as the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States prohibits alcohol ads appearing on platforms in which at least 28 percent of the audience is under 21. Diageo, which reportedly ended Snapchat advertising…

A Massachusetts federal court has dismissed half of the claims in a lawsuit alleging Diageo-Guinness misrepresents where its Guinness Stout beer is brewed. O’Hara v. Diageo-Guinness USA Inc., No. 15-14139 (D. Mass., entered March 27, 2018). The plaintiff alleged that the “Frequently Asked Questions” page of Guinness’ website stated that “All Guinness sold in the UK, Ireland, and North America is brewed in Ireland at the historic St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin," while a disclosure on Guinness bottles sold in the United States indicate that the product is “Imported by DIAGEO – Guinness USA, Stamford, CT. Brewed and bottled by Guinness Brewing Company, New Brunswick, Canada. Product of Canada.” The court dismissed three of the six causes of action because the bottling and packaging labels were approved by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. A misrepresentation claim and two claims for violations of state consumer-protection laws will…

Rebbl Inc. faces a putative class action alleging its “super herb” beverages are falsely advertised and labeled because the claims made for their ingredients are “not supported by sound scientific evidence.” Richburg v. Rebbl Inc., No. 18-1674 (E.D.N.Y., filed March 16, 2018). The complaint alleges that beverages in Rebbl’s product line of “Elixirs” and “Proteins” contain several ingredients—turmeric, reishi, maca, matcha, ashwaganda, medium chain triglyceride oil and coconut milk—that the company falsely asserts can reduce stress and improve beauty, health or wellness. Claiming violations of New York’s General Business Law, breach of warranties, fraud and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has upheld complaints that Rusty Yak Ginger Ale's advertising, which urged viewers to “stop the ginger gene” from spreading by looking for bottles of the product hidden in six-packs of beer, was offensive to people with red hair. Carlton and United Breweries ran the television and internet ads for the product and told ASB the ads were intended to launch the product “in an affectionate, light-hearted and humorous way by linking the hair colour with [its] ‘crisp and zingy Rusty Yak gingery flavor.’” The Ad Standards Community Panel considered the ad in relation to its advertising code of ethics, which refers to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and other personal characteristics. The panel said, “DNA can be considered to be related to ancestry and descent . . . in this context the reference to people with red hair falls within the definition of…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Brew Dr. Kombucha misleadingly advertises its products as containing “billions” of probiotic bacteria. Bazer v. Brew Dr. Kombucha, No. 2018-2943 (Ill. Chancery Ct., Cook Cty., filed March 5, 2018). The plaintiff asserts that he bought several bottles of kombucha in different flavors because he heard about the benefits of the beverage and the probiotic bacteria it purportedly contains. According to the complaint, tests showed that the product contained about 50,000 bacterial colonies rather than the "billions" advertised on the bottle’s label. Claiming violations of consumer-protection laws, breach of warranties and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, disgorgement and attorney’s fees.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two challenges to television ads, one for Aldi Stores Ltd. and one for The Wrigley Co.'s Extra chewing gum, ruling that neither can be aired again. In the Aldi ad, "Kevin the Carrot,” an advertising mascot, was used to advertise alcohol beverages in a parody of “The Sixth Sense.” The ad began with Kevin saying, “I see dead parsnips,” and featured a voice-over explaining, “Kevin was feeling a little bit tense. He thought there were spirits. He had a sixth sense. As it turned out, his instincts were right. There were a few spirits that cold Christmas night.” Throughout the ad, various alcohol beverages appear. The ad was challenged on the grounds that the ad was likely to appeal to minors because the main character was a child's toy. Aldi argued that the ad was part of its 2017 holiday parody series…

Sanderson Farms Inc. lost a motion to dismiss false advertising claims brought by three advocacy organizations when a California federal court ruled that the claims are not preempted by either the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) or the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). Organic Consumers Ass’n v. Sanderson Farms Inc., No. 17-3592 (N.D. Cal., entered February 9, 2018). The groups alleged that Sanderson’s marketing materials—which asserted that the poultry was “100% Natural” with “no hidden ingredients” and that “100% natural means there’s only chicken in our chicken”—were misleading because of U.S. Department of Agriculture testing reportedly showing the presence of antibiotics, ketamine, pesticides and “other unnatural substance residues.” The court found that consumer-protection laws “are within the historic police powers resting with the states and are therefore subject to the presumption against preemption ... Consequently, they cannot be superseded by federal law or action unless it is the ‘clear and…

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