ASA Adjudication on Ferrero UK Ltd
Ferrero UK Ltd
7 Hatters Lane
Croxley Green Business Park
29 June 2011
Food and drink
Number of complaints:
A TV and video on demand (VOD) ad, for Nutella. The ad was viewed on TV by the complainants between November 2010 and February 2011. The VOD ad was viewed in December 2010 during ‘Jamie’s American Food Revolution’ and ‘Neighbours’. It showed various people, including children, waking up and going about their morning routines; they prepared toast with Nutella and left their homes dressed for work or school. It included a voice-over that stated “ ... Each 15 gram portion contains two whole hazelnuts, some skimmed milk and cocoa ... Wake up to Nutella”. Text on screen stated “wake up to nutella”.
The ASA received 31 complaints, from Which Ltd and from viewers, who challenged whether the ad was:
1. misleading because it did not make clear that Nutella also contained a high proportion of sugar and fat;
2. likely to encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle, especially in children.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Ferrero UK Ltd (Ferrero) said in 2008 they had responded to the ASA in relation to complaints on similar issues. They said two of the three points of complaint were not upheld and they had made significant changes to the ad in relation to the point that had been upheld.
In relation to the VOD ad, Ferrero noted that complainants had viewed the ad during Jamies American Food Revolution and Neighbours via on demand services. They said the content and scheduling of ads related to Nutella were restricted, because it was a HFSS (high in fat, salt or sugar) product. They said neither of the programmes the ad had been viewed in were of the nature that meant ads for HFSS products could not be shown. They said that, in addition to ensuring adherence to the HFSS restrictions, they had their own policy, which was designed to avoid the placing of ads for Nutella around programmes related to a range of issues, including health, obesity, child hyperactivity and negative child-parent relationships. They said that since the ASA had contacted them in relation to the VOD complaints, they had discovered it was not possible to fully control the scheduling of ads around programmes accessed via VOD services. They now realised the relevant systems would not pick up on Fererros voluntary restrictions, which were supplied in the brief given to their media buyer and were over and above the HFSS restrictions placed on ads. They said if their policy had been applied, the ad would not have appeared in or around Jamies American Food Revolution. They said they regretted that the ad had appeared in the context of that programme and had decided not to advertise Nutella via VOD services as a result, to ensure their policy was not breached in future.
1. Ferrero said hazelnuts had been highlighted in the ad, because Nutella was a hazelnut spread rather than a chocolate spread. A 400 g jar of the product contained 13% hazelnut compared to 7% cocoa and therefore explaining the true nature of the product was one of Ferreros advertising objectives. They acknowledged the reference in the ad to skimmed milk and cocoa but said neither the voice-over nor the visual suggested they were the only ingredients. Ferrero said they had been careful to avoid using words such as "only", "just" or "made from" so the ad did not give a misleading impression.
They said it was important to them, however, that nutritional information related to Nutella was available to everyone and therefore it was detailed on the product packaging as well as in additional detail on their website, the address of which was stated in the ad. They said those sources gave parents, who were the target audience of the ad, all the information they required to make an informed purchase decision. Ferrero felt it was important to consider the sugar and fat content in the context of the portion size. Nutella was typically spread straight onto toast without butter and a recommended serving contained less fat and sugar than, for example, butter and jam on toast. They said they did not believe viewers were likely to infer from the ad that the three ingredients mentioned were the only ones in the product; they had focused on hazelnuts, skimmed milk and cocoa because they were the ingredients that differentiated Nutella from other sweet spreads. They said they strongly believed the ad was not misleading.
Clearcast said the ASA had accepted in the previous investigation that the ad in that case did not imply hazelnuts, skimmed milk and cocoa were the only ingredients. They said there was not time in a TV ad for an advertiser to indicate all product ingredients. However, that was not necessary in any case, because details could be found on the website or on the product packaging. They said the ad did not misleadingly suggest the ingredients mentioned were the only ones in the product.
2. Ferrero said a fundamental message in their advertising was the importance of breakfast. The ad showed parents giving their children breakfast, which they considered to be the opposite of encouraging poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle. They said they noted expert opinion to be that breakfast was the most important meal of the day but that a study had concluded that many people, including one in four children, left home without having breakfast. They said Nutella was a low GI food that released energy slowly and the ad suggested parents might consider the product in the very specific context of it being spread on wholegrain toast as part of a family breakfast. Ferrero said it was to be encouraged to eat Nutella as part of a meal that had an overall low GI, such as with wholegrain bread, and the ad did not show the product being used in an irresponsible way. It was spread thinly on toast and not, for example, being eaten alone or in a large quantity. They said a consistent theme of their marketing was that a typical portion of Nutella was 15 g, which was equal to two heaped teaspoons. They believed the ad gave a strong depiction and overall message of responsible use for the product and therefore it did not encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle.
Clearcast said it was generally thought that people who skipped breakfast had a less nutritious diet than those who ate it. They said the ad encouraged families to eat breakfast. However, it did not make nutrition claims or encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle. They said breakfast was clearly shown as a balanced meal with fruit, juice, milk and toast. The ad did not encourage people to eat lots of Nutella but pointed out that it contained hazelnuts, which might not previously have been obvious.
1. & 2. Not upheld
The ASA noted Nutella contained sugar and fat as well as hazelnuts, skimmed milk and cocoa. We noted the ad showed toast being prepared and, in that context, considered viewers were likely to understand the reference to hazelnuts, skimmed milk and cocoa as ingredients that might differentiate Nutella from other spreads that might be used on toast. We considered viewers were likely to understand there would be other ingredients in the product and were unlikely to interpret the ad to mean those were the only three ingredients or that the product did not contain any unhealthy ingredients.
We noted Nutella had a high sugar and fat content and that such foods should be eaten in moderation. We also noted, however, the ad showed each child eating only one slice of toast with Nutella and that the images also included other breakfast items such as fruit juice, milk and cereal. We considered the overall impression of the ad, including the "wake up to Nutella" message, was such that viewers would understand the product to be an option they might wish to choose for a family breakfast. We considered the ad was unlikely to be interpreted as suggesting Nutella should be consumed in excessive quantities or that it should be eaten daily. We concluded the ad was unlikely to mislead viewers into believing Nutella contained only the ingredients mentioned or that it made a significant nutritional contribution to a balanced breakfast. We therefore also concluded that it was unlikely to encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children.
We investigated the VOD ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 15.11 (Food and soft drink product marketing communications and children - diet and lifestyle) but did not find it in breach. We investigated the TV ad under BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 13.2 (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)