Ribena ad banned for ‘exaggerated’ health boasts

Ribena has been banned from running claims touting the health credentials of its Ribena Plus range after the ad watchdog ruled they were “exaggerated”.

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Health guarantees on the “Ribena Plus Benefits” web page were found to have gone too far in their attempts to make complicated European Food Standards Authority authorised claims understandable for consumers.

Ribena had re-worded the authorised claims with phrases such as “Vitamin A….helps keep your vision in tip-top condition” and “Vitamin C….It helps immunity”, and insisted it had made the brand’s marketing “more consumer friendly”. It is a practice employed by many food and drink marketers looking to highlight the health qualities of their products.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the statements failed to fully convey the meaning of the EU’s health claims to shoppers, observing that the Ribena promotion implied that the vitamins optimise body performance when in fact they maintain its normal function.

Ribena defended the text and said it met EU guildines for running vitamin A and C claims in ads. GlaxoSmithKline issued the rebuttal instead of current Ribena owner Suntory as the online promotion launched prior to the completion of the latter’s acquisition last year.

The ruling follows the banning of an ad for fellow Suntory-owned drink Lucozade in January. The regulator rapped the energy drink for claiming its Lucozade Sport range “hydrates and fuels you better than water”.

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