ASA Adjudication on Honey Monster Foods Ltd
Honey Monster Foods Ltd
22 August 2012
Internet (on own site), In-game (online)
Food and drink
Number of complaints:
The website www.honeymonster.co.uk, for Sugar Puffs cereal, featured the "Munching Monster" game, in which the Honey Monster had to eat as many Sugar Puffs as possible and avoid the wasps.
The Children's Food Campaign (Sustain) challenged whether the game encouraged excessive consumption of the product and poor nutritional habits in children.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Honey Monster Foods Ltd said simple, free to play games were a popular feature of many websites and that for their game they had chosen to incorporate Honey Monster into the well-known game concept in which players used arrow keys on a computer keyboard to move a character through a maze, collecting or eating things and avoiding dangers. They said the recommended 30 g portion of Sugar Puffs comprised about 450 individual puffs and that a player would need to be well into level 3 before the Honey Monster had consumed that number, which no player had yet come close to achieving.
They said the graphics accompanying the game showed the puffs in, or with, a bowl of milk and that a cup of dark liquid which could be viewed as coffee was shown on the game entry page, which helped position the game as more adult orientated. They did not believe that the depiction of the consumption of sugar puffs in the game, along with the images that showed the product with milk and a hot drink, encouraged excessive consumption or poor nutritional habits in children.
The ASA noted that the game included images on the entry page of sugar puffs in a bowl of milk opposite a cup of tea/coffee, but we nevertheless considered that the nature of the game, which featured the well-known Honey Monster character, made it likely to be of particular appeal to children. We noted that the game had a competitive element, with a number of levels and a leader board displayed at the end of each game, which we considered could give an incentive to players to play the game repeatedly. However, we considered that the consumption of Sugar Puffs had been represented in an abstract way, with the Honey Monster running through a maze, trying to avoid wasps in what was a familiar game format. We therefore considered that players, whether adults or children, were unlikely to associate the Honey Monster's consumption of the product with their own and we concluded that the advergame had not condoned or encouraged excessive consumption of the product nor poor nutritional habits in children.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 15.4 (Food, food supplements and associated health and nutrition claims) and 15.11 (Food and soft drink product marketing communications and children) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.