A poster for Lipton Ice Tea seen on a bus shelter on 13 August 2021, featured headline text which stated “DELICIOUSLY REFRESHING, 100% RECYCLED*”. The asterisk linked to small text at the bottom of the poster that stated “Bottle made from recycled plastic, excludes cap and label”. The ad included pack shots of two Lipton Ice Tea bottles, with a recycling logo and the text “I’M 100% RECYCLED PLASTIC” visible.
IssueThe complainant challenged whether the claim “100% RECYCLED” misleadingly implied that all of the Lipton bottle was made from 100% recycled plastic.
Pepsi Lipton International said the headline claim “100% RECYCLED*” had a clear asterisk that indicated to consumers there was a qualification that should be read in conjunction with it. They accepted that the size of the text in the qualification was small and could have been overlooked. However, in their opinion, the wording of the qualification “Bottle made from recycled plastic, excludes cap and label” was sufficient to clarify that the claim related to the bottle only and excluded the cap and label.
They said the general understanding of consumers was that bottle caps and labels were not generally made of recycled materials. However, because some consumers might have assumed the headline claim related to the entire product shown in the ad, they considered it was appropriate to clarify the claim with the qualification.
The ASA considered consumers would understand the claim “100% RECYCLED*” alongside images of the bottle with the label and cap to mean that all components of the Lipton Ice Tea bottle (i.e. the bottle, cap and label) were made entirely from recycled materials.We acknowledged the ad stated “Bottle made from recycled plastic, excludes cap and label”. However, we considered that wording appeared in very small text in the left-hand bottom corner of the ad, and therefore it could be overlooked. Notwithstanding that, we considered that even if some consumers had seen the qualification, because the cap and label were not made from recycled materials, and the overall impression they created was that all parts of the bottle were made entirely from recycled materials, the qualification was insufficient to counter that impression. Because the overall impression of the ad was that all components of the bottle were made entirely from recycled materials when that was not the case, we concluded that the claim “100% RECYCLED*” was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 11.3 (Environmental claims).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Pepsi Lipton International to ensure their advertising did not state or imply that their product packaging was made from 100% recycled material where it contained components that did not meet the criteria. We also told them to ensure that qualifications did not counter the overall impression made by the ad.