Kellogg’s apologises for ‘unclear’ health claims after two ads are banned

Kellogg’s has been criticised by the ASA for not clearly backing up claims that its products are “full of goodness” and “nutritious”.

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Kellogg’s has had two of its ads banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after it was found to breach the ad code for not clearly signposting how its health claims are substantiated.

A TV ad for Special K porridge, which aired in October last year, featured various scenes of ingredients while a voice-over said: “Our new five-grain super porridge is full of goodness”. On-screen text stated “Special K porridge contains vitamin B2 which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin”.

Meanwhile, claims on the Special K website promoting the range stated “All Special K flakes are made with our unique Nutri K recipe making a nutritious and delicious start to your day”.

Kellogg’s understood “full of goodness” had to be supported with an authorised health claim, which is why it included the phrase “contains vitamin B2 which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin”.

Kellogg’s also believed the use of the word “nutritious” in the ad did not suggest a health benefit unlike the term “goodness”, which is why it did not have to provide an authorised health claim.

However, the ASA disagreed with both of the company’s arguments, saying the right context was not provided and therefore the ads breached the ad code.

The ASA says: “Without any further information to help consumers understand the context of the claim we considered they were likely to interpret it as one which implied that Kellogg’s Special K was ‘nutritious’ because of its nutritional content and was, therefore, ‘good for you’. Therefore, it should have been accompanied by a specific authorised health claim.”

As a result, the ads must not appear again in their current form. Kellogg’s has been advised to ensure its relevant authorised health claims accompany any general health claims that feature in its advertising.

In response to the ad ban, a spokesperson for Kellogg’s told Marketing Week: “We’re pleased the ASA acknowledged that Kellogg’s has authorised health claims for both the Special K Porridge advert and the Special K website. However, we apologise for the error in not ensuring this was made clear enough for our consumers. This has now been corrected.”

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To find out more about brand and creative, visit the Festival of Marketing, which is running on the 5 and 6 October at Tobacco Dock, London. For more information about the event, including how to book tickets, click here.

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