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Ad watchdog orders Kellogg to pull Special K commercial

By Oliver Nieburg+

04-Jul-2012
Last updated on 04-Jul-2012 at 15:19 GMT2012-07-04T15:19:00Z

Kellogg has been told to remove a Special K television commercial in the UK after it was found to breach advertising standards by making misleading calorie-content claims.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that a TV advert for Special K made inaccurate calorie claims by excluding milk that was being poured on a product serving.  

The ad

Kellogg’s Special K ad featured a close up of women pouring milk over a bowl of Special K with a caption that said:  stated "114 Kcals and 0.6g fat per 30g serving. Enjoy as part of a healthy balanced diet & active lifestyle".

A complaint was lodged that the calorie and fat claim was misleading as it did not include milk, which was clearly being poured over the serving of Special K.

Kellogg: milk comes with different calories

Kellogg argued that it was unnecessary to include the added calories from milk as different varieties contain varying amounts and many consumers often eat cereals dry or with yoghurt or orange juice.

The company believed it was open and honest that the calories quoted were for a single 30g portion of the product.

It added that in the Department of Health profiling scheme and traffic labelling instructions their products were judged without milk, and believed it would be inconsistent with existing nutrition models to require otherwise.

ASA ruling

However, the ASA ruled that its claims were misleading and ordered it to pull the ad.

“We acknowledged that not all consumers would eat cereal with milk, and that there were also a range of milks available with different calorie contents,” said the ASA.

“However, we considered that, in an ad that prominently featured the cereal being eaten with milk, it should have clarified that the calorie claim did not include milk and, because it did not do so, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”

The ad was found in breach of the Committee of Adverting Practice (BCAP) Code. Kellogg cannot broadcast the ad its current form and the ASA has told the cereal company to ensure similar ads that featured calorie claims clarified whether or not they included milk.

Other Kellogg ad rulings

This latest breach is Kellogg’s most recent in its brushes with the ASA this year.

In a separate February case, the advertising authority ruled in favour of Kellogg after a complaint that its Mini-Max cereal TV advert was misleading consumers over nutritional content was dismissed. (See HERE )

However, in a another case in March the ASA ordered Kellogg to revise claims on its Coco Pops website that suggested sugar was unconnected to obesity, disease development and behavioural problems in children. (See HERE )

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