A game on the website www.chewits.co.uk, visited on 31 October 2011, the object of which was to direct an animated dinosaur "Chewie" to locate all nine flavours of Chewit sweets, which were hidden within British landmarks. Along the bottom of the screen, various fruits and sports equipment were displayed. Those transferred to the top of the screen once Chewie had collected them.
Sustain: The Alliance For Better Food & Farming challenged whether the game gave a misleading impression of the nutritional or health benefits of the product, because it suggested to children that eating Chewits was equivalent to eating fruit.
Leaf Italia SRL t/a Leaf Confectionery (Leaf Italia) said Chewits were an occasional treat that should not be eaten as a meal replacement. They said the product was clearly positioned as a treat that should be consumed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle throughout the website. They pointed out that that was particularly evident on the "Parents" page, which provided clear advice about responsible consumption and linked to other websites that provided more information on how treats should be enjoyed responsibly. They stated that their commitment to promoting that message was evidenced by their development of a national children's sports programme, which aimed to encourage an active lifestyle and balanced diet. They provided a letter from the managing director of the company that administered the programme, which explained in more detail how the programme attempted to encourage healthy eating and exercise amongst children.
Leaf Italia did not believe the game implied products were healthy or equivalent to eating fruit. They said the purpose of the game was to encourage children to eat more fruit and lead an active lifestyle, which was why they could collect fruits and sports equipment. They stated that the way the fruit and sports equipment appeared was very different from the way the Chewits were collected, because the Chewits were hidden by the various landmarks whereas the fruit and sports equipment sat separately at the front of the screen.
They explained that all information about the Guideline Daily Amounts of the product was included in the product page of the website, as well as on all packaging, and they did not therefore think they had given a misleading impression of the nutritional benefit of the product.
The ASA considered that it was not clear from the game that the fruit symbols along the bottom of the screen were intended to promote the consumption of fruit as part of a healthy lifestyle and we noted that, although images representing sports equipment were also shown, so too were images of ice cream and cola, which were also flavours of Chewits, but which were not commonly associated with a healthy lifestyle. We also noted that there was no other text or additional imagery that reinforced the intended healthy lifestyle message. We therefore considered that both children and adults would assume that the fruit and other food symbols at the bottom of the screen were intended to represent the various flavours of Chewit that were to be found in each of the landmarks. However, we considered that adults and children who were old enough to navigate to the website and play the game would be aware that Chewits were sweets that had a number of fruit-flavoured varieties, among others. We considered that it was common for foods that were fruit flavoured to use an image of the fruit in their marketing. We noted that the game was clearly set in a fictitious situation, with a cartoon dinosaur moving between small-scale UK landmarks, and we considered that those who played the game were unlikely to infer that Chewits had intrinsic nutritional or health benefits simply because those that were fruit flavoured appeared to be represented within the game by fruit symbols. Although we considered that the purpose of the game was unclear, we concluded that it was unlikely to give a misleading impression of the nutritional and health benefits of the product.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 15.17 15.17 Claims referring to children's development and health are acceptable if authorised by the European Commission. (Nutrition claims and health claims) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.