ASA bans Hovis ad for misleading health claim

Premier Foods has been rapped over claims its relaunched Hovis bread is healthier than a bowl of cereal.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned Premier from claiming that “just two slices [of Hovis] provides you with33% more wholegrain than a bowl of cereal”.

It follows a complaint from rival baker Warburtons that the comparison was based on a 30g bowl of Nestlé Bitesize Shredded Wheat and two slices of medium sliced Hovis Wholemeal, rather than the manufacturer’s suggested serving of 45g.

The magazine ad, created by below-the-line agency Communicator, was part of a £15m advertising campaign launched last summer to reposition Hovis as healthy and wholesome and take back market share from Warburtons, the market leader.

Premier Foods says the magazine ad was intended to inform consumers that wholemeal bread contained wholegrains, because many people believed that breakfast cereal was healthier than bread.

Meanwhile, the ASA ruled in favour of a Nestlé campaign promoting free sporting days out, which ran across its Smarties, Milky Bar and Fruit Pastilles brands.

The ad, which features former athlete Daley Thompson, received complaints from lobby group Sustain and members of the public over six issues, including targeting primary schoolchildren and giving a misleading impression of the nutritional value of the sweets brands.

Nestlé argued that Thompson was an Eighties sporting hero and the ads, including the TV spot, were designed to be an incentive for parents to “bring out the natural athlete” in their child.

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