Kellogg’s is the latest brand to fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), receiving a ban for two of its Special K ads after the regulator was sent complaints over health claims made by the food giant.
A TV ad for Special K’s porridge and a separate web promotion were found to breach ASA rules because they didn't clearly signpost how the brand's health claims were substantiated.
The TV spot claimed in a voiceover that the brand’s five grain super porridge was “full of goodness” while the digital campaign contained text reading: “All Special K flakes are made with our unique NutriK recipe making a nutritious and delicious start to your day.”
Under ASA rules, companies cannot make generic health claims unless they are backed up by a specific health benefit to consumers. A member of the public challenged the statements, with the watchdog upholding the complaint on both accounts.
Kellogg’s agreed the claim “full of goodness” was a general health claim and pointed out that the ad had validated this with a line of text saying the product “… contains vitamin B2 which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin”.
In regards to the digital ad it said that it didn’t believe the word “nutritious” suggested any health benefits and as such did not feel the claim was required to be accompanied by a specific authorised wellbeing claim.
The ASA, however, disagreed noting that in regards to the TV ad the line about vitamin B2 had appeared after the voiceover and as such breached the code by not actually appearing alongside the health claim on screen.
Of the digital campaign, the regulator said: “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’.”
The ASA has banned the food behemoth from showing the ads again in their current form, and asked the brand to ensure that future campaigns use relevant authorised health claims to accompany any general health claims they make.