“Myth-busting” Coke and NSW Health water ads get the all clear

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 27th November 2008

The Advertising Standards Bureau has given the green light to the “myth-busting” Coca-Cola advertisement as well as the NSW Department of Health’s water campaign despite receiving a number of complaints.

Advertising Standards Bureau Chief Executive Officer, Ms Fiona Jolly said complaints focussed on the allegedly misleading and false claims made by advertisers in both the soft drink print advertisement from Coca Cola and a NSW Health Department television advertisement promoting water as a healthy choice. “In reaching their decision to dismiss complaints about both advertisements, the Board considered the complaints under the health and safety provisions of the AANA Code of Ethics and also under the Food and Beverages Code,” she advised.

Ms Jolly said the Board did not consider that either advertisement breached either of the Codes.

“Concerns were expressed that the depiction of sugar being added to a glass in the NSW Health Department advertisement misleads viewers and implies that the sugar content of fruit juice is based on the addition of sugar,” Ms Jolly said. “The Board considered the advertisement did not state or suggest sugar is added to fruit juice and the depiction of spoonfuls of sugar was illustrative of the amount of sugar found in different drinks.”

Ms Jolly said the ‘myth-busting’ claims included in the Coca Cola advertisement were the main source of complaint. The Australian Dental Association had called on Coca-Cola Amatil to scrap the full-page ad, which attempted to disprove the notion that Coca-Cola rotted teeth. “Several statements under ‘Myth. It rots your teeth’ are ambiguous or just plain wrong,”  ADA Federal President, Dr John Matthews, suggested.

“The Board considered all of the statements, references and recommendations made in the advertorial style advertisement in finding that it did not breach either the AANA Code of Ethics or the Food and Beverages Code,” Ms Jolly concluded.

More information about the complaints process and a full list of the advertisements considered can be viewed on the ASB website: www.adstandards.com.au under ‘Case Reports’.