Red Bull Ad Makes Unauthorized Focus Claims, ASA Rules
The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that Red Bull Co. made unauthorized health claims about purported benefits of its energy drink on mental focus and concentration. The company’s subway advertisement featured cartoon women in an office setting with the text “The Secret to Finishing Early.” The ad referenced a consumer initiative encouraging workers to leave the office early one September 2018 day.
“The ASA considered that while the ad’s tone was light-hearted, the scenario it presented of being overwhelmed or busy at work was one that would be familiar and relatable to consumers,” the agency’s assessment summary states. “While we understood that the ad was intended to be part of a marketing initiative aimed at encouraging consumers to improve their productivity and leave at 4 pm on a specific day, we considered that the penultimate line of the poem, ‘… to leap every hurdle a hectic day brings’ implied that Red Bull could help improve consumers’ mental focus, concentration and energy levels (and therefore increase productivity).” Because these health claims were not authorized by the EU Register, ASA concluded that the ad breached its code and directed Red Bull not to use the ad again in its current form.