ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Tetley GB Ltd
Tetley GB Ltd
325 Oldfield Lane North
23 October 2002
Food and drink
The Food Commission objected to two posters, for Tetley Tea, that were headlined "Tetley (picture of heart) U" and "Go on, live a lot.". The text stated "Tetley is rich in antioxidants that can help keep your heart healthy". The complainants objected that:
1. the claim "Tetley is rich in antioxidants that can help keep your heart healthy" misleadingly implied that drinking tea had proven health benefits and
2. the claim "Go on live a lot" misleadingly implied that drinking tea would prolong life.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers asserted that the claims were based on a substantial body of research by leading medical experts; they sent 31 studies and an expert opinion. They also sent editorial comment and literature published by other organisations such as competitors and trade bodies. The advertisers said they were unaware that their agency had received, but declined to take, advice from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) on similar claims before the campaign ran.
1. Complaint upheld
The advertisers believed the trials and the expert opinion they had sought supported the claim. They argued that the claim was conditional, not absolute, and it''s meaning was generally understood by consumers: they had claimed only that Tetley tea merely "can" help heart health, not that it definitely would. The Authority took expert advice and understood that some studies found no increased health benefits from tea consumption and that epidemiological evidence was inconsistent. It also understood that several of the studies reporting positive effects from drinking tea emphasised the need for more research before a firm conclusion on the subject could be reached. The Authority considered that, although antioxidants might help prevent coronary heart disease, the advertisers'' evidence did not address variables, such as the type of antioxidants in Tetley tea and the level of antioxidants absorbed by tea drinkers. The Authority considered that readers of the claim "Tetley is rich in antioxidants that can help keep your heart healthy" would infer that drinking Tetley tea benefited heart health and considered that the advertisers had not proved that it could or would. It concluded that, because the health benefits of drinking Tetley tea had not been proven, the claim was misleading. Although it noted the advertisers'' assertion that the claim would not re-appear, the Authority was concerned that the advertisers'' agency had ignored CAP copy advice on a similar heart health claim.
2. Complaint upheld
The advertisers disputed that the claim implied that drinking tea prolonged life; they argued that, because Tetley tea was refreshing and uplifting, readers were likely to infer from the claim an emotional, not a physiological, benefit. They said drinking tea was associated with ''living life to the full'' and the claim was a play on the phrase "Go on, live a little". The Authority considered that, because the poster linked the headline with the claim that Tetley could help keep their heart healthy, readers were likely to interpret the claim "Go on, live a lot" as meaning drinking tea would help prevent heart disease and prolong life. Because the advertisers had not provided evidence to show that Tetley affected longevity, the Authority considered that the claim was misleading.
The Authority told the advertisers to change the claims with help from the CAP Copy Advice team.