ASA Adjudication on Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK) Ltd
Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK) Ltd
137 High Street
8 December 2010
Number of complaints:
A poster and TV ad for Carling lager.
a. The poster stated "Scientifically proven to lock in great taste" above a can of Carling with the text "NEW TASTE LOCK CAN" on it.
b. The TV ad showed a group of men in the desert. At the end of the ad a Carling Taste Lock Can with the text "NEW TASTE LOCK CAN" on it was shown and the voice-over said "New Carling Taste Lock Can, locks in the great taste."
Heineken UK challenged whether the claims:
1. "NEW TASTE LOCK CAN" was misleading, because it implied that the can was a new design and used new technology; and
2. "Scientifically proven to lock in great taste" in ad (a) misleadingly implied that the can was better than those of competitors.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
BCAP TV Code
1. Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK) Ltd (MCBC) said they had invested significantly in combining different, existing packaging technology and installing new equipment to create their new can. They said that they were not claiming that the technology itself was new to the brewing industry but that it was a new innovation for Carling and would be understood by consumers in that context. They asserted that they did not say that the taste lock technology was special or unique to them and did not make a comparative or superiority claim.
MCBC said that they had made three changes to the can, the most important of which was that they had changed the way the top of the can was sealed to the bottom to help prevent the beer coming into contact with the metal of the can, which could cause the beer to have a metallic taste. They had also introduced a double liner to the inside of the can, and made improvements to the indicator on the outside of the can which turned blue when the beer was chilled to its optimum drinking temperature.
Clearcast said that they had been provided with evidence regarding the technology that would be used within the cans to make them new. They said that they were aware that the technology was not new to the market but that it was the first time it had been used for Carling cans. They said that they did not think the advert suggested that the technology was exclusive to Carling or new to the market and as such they did not think it was misleading.
2. MCBC said that they had undertaken both taste and scientific tests comparing beer samples from their old and new cans. They provided details of extensive tests conducted in conjunction with the can manufacturer which analysed the iron content in samples from both the old cans and the new cans. The test results showed that the maximum iron content found in the new cans compared to the old cans had reduced, and was at or below the level at which trained in-house taste testers could identify a metallic taste.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted the information MCBC had provided with regard to the improvements made to the Carling can and considered that it substantiated that the can was a new design for Carling. We noted that there was no reference or comparison to cans used by other beer brands or claims that the can was unique. We considered that it was unlikely that consumers would interpret the ads to mean that the can was an innovation completely new to the industry or superior to the cans used by other beer brands or manufacturers. We concluded that the claim was not misleading.
On this point, we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code (Edition11) clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness) and ad (b) under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 5.1.1 (Misleading advertising) but did not find them in breach
2. Not upheld
We considered that, in conjunction with the claim "NEW TASTE LOCK CAN", consumers were likely to understand the claim "Scientifically proven to lock in great taste" to mean that MCBC had made changes to the can which had improved the taste of Carling canned beer; not that it was a new innovation that made the can better than those of their competitors.
We noted that MCBC had conducted scientific analyses on beer samples taken from their old and new cans and considered that the results showed that the beer samples from the new cans had a reduced iron content compared to samples from the old cans. We noted that the iron content found in the samples from the new cans was at or below the level at which MCBC said their in-house taste testers could detect a metallic taste.
Because we considered consumers would interpret the claim to mean the changes to the can had resulted in an improvement to the taste of canned Carling, and we had seen evidence that that was the case, we considered the claim was not misleading.
On this point we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code (Edition 11) clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)