Category Archives Advertising Standards Authority

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declined to take action against Bacardi-Martini Ltd. following a complaint that its television ad “was irresponsible because it encouraged immoderate drinking by implying that drinking should take place before and throughout a night out.” In its determination, ASA found that “a sealed bottle of Bacardi rum was shown on several occasions but none of the characters in the ad were shown actually serving or drinking the rum” until the group of characters reaches a bar. “The implication was that the group would drink some of the alcohol during their night out, but we noted that none of the characters shown in the ad seemed to be dancing, moving, or otherwise interacting with each other in a way suggestive of intoxication or excessive alcohol consumption at any point, including in the final scenes,” ASA ruled. “For those reasons we concluded that the ad did…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two complaints against Costa Coffee for a radio ad comparing the difficulty associated with the length of time for which an avocado is ripe—"sure, they'll be hard as rock for the first 18 days, three hours and 20 minutes, then they'll be ready to eat, for about 10 minutes, then they’ll go off"—to the ease of buying a breakfast sandwich at the coffee company's store locations. Two complainants argued to ASA that the ad "discouraged the selection of fresh fruit," and ASA agreed, finding that "comparisons between foods must not discourage the selection of options such as fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, which generally accepted dietary opinions recommended should form a greater part of the average diet." Upholding the complaints, ASA noted that, "although the ad was light-hearted, it nevertheless suggested avocados were a poor breakfast choice, and that a bacon roll…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declined to uphold a complaint arguing that Walkers Snacks targeted children under 16 with a product high in fat, salt or sugar by showing an advertisement for Doritos before YouTube videos. The complaint asserted that the “media or context” of the ad targeted children under 16, but ASA found that Walkers had taken “a range of steps to ensure that the ad was not targeted to children under the age of 16, using both age restrictions and interest based factors.” Walkers applied YouTube age-targeting restrictions by not approving the ad for families and instructing YouTube to show the ad to users logged into accounts with a self-reported age of 18 or older. “We understood from the complainant that the ad had been seen by an 8-year-old child who was not signed into YouTube, using a device used by both adults and children,” ASA…

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 U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has again barred HJ Heinz Foods UK from airing a television commercial suggesting that the nutritional benefits of beans and a protein supplement are comparable. After ASA found that the ad made an unpermitted nutrition claim, Heinz changed a line in the commercial to reduce an implied comparison between the levels of protein, fiber and fat in a protein shake and a serving of beans. ASA found that the updated version of the ad continued to create the “overall impression” that the two products were comparable and banned the ad from running on television.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a challenge to a bus poster sponsored by Viva, a vegan-advocacy group, that claimed the hormones in cow's milk have been "linked to cancer." Viva asserted that consumers interpret the words “linked to” as a phrase “commonly used to express an association between two factors when there was a potential or likely relationship but not an absolute causative relationship." The group submitted several research papers in support of the ad claim, but ASA was unconvinced by each study, citing unrelated or overly broad subject matters as well as the inclusion of self-reported data. ASA concluded that "the claim 'milk contains 35 hormones, including oestrogen … some of these are linked to cancer', as it would be understood by consumers to mean that due to the presence of hormones, drinking cow’s milk could increase a person’s risk of developing cancer, had not been substantiated and…

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…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint that a “100% Natural Ingredients” claim was misleading because the processing of the snack bar's ingredients did not comply with the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA's) criteria for use of the term “natural.” United Biscuits submitted a list of ingredients for its “Go Ahead Goodness” snack bars and asserted that all ingredients were made in a traditional manner. After ASA referred to FSA guidance, it determined that the refining of sunflower oil involves the use of chemical solvents and the process of creating reduced-fat cocoa powder involves the addition of potassium carbonate. Because the FSA guidance says neither the solvent extraction process nor the use of acid or alkali solutions is “in line with consumer expectations of ‘natural,’” ASA ruled that consumers would not consider the ingredients natural and that the advertisement was misleading.

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…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a challenge to a Heinz television ad for canned beans that claimed the beans contained similar levels of protein, fiber and fat as those in a protein shake. The ad showed a man drinking a beverage that he described as “supercharged with high fibre and minimal fat,” and although the beverage was not labeled or identified, ASA decided most consumers would conclude the man was drinking a protein shake. While the ad did not directly compare the nutritional benefits of beans to those of protein drinks and the ad’s nutritional claims for beans were substantiated, ASA ruled that Heinz made a nutrition claim prohibited by broadcast codes.

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