Nutella ad escapes ban despite 31 complaints

By Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, campaignlive.co.uk, Wednesday, 29 June 2011 12:16PM

Nutella's recent "Wake up to Nutella" TV and video-on-demand (VOD) ad has escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), despite receiving 31 complaints that it was misleading and encouraged poor eating habits in children.

The ad, created by Krow Communications, showed various people getting up and going through their morning routines, which included spreading Nutella on toast for breakfast, and going to work or school.

The voiceover said: "Each 15-gram portion contains two whole hazelnuts, some skimmed milk and cocoa. Wake up to Nutella".

The ad aired on TV and video-on-demand between November 2010 and February this year.

It received 31 complaints from consumers and from consumer  watchdog group, Which?.

Consumers complained on two fronts: that it was unclear about the high proportion of sugar and fat in Nutella, and that it was likely to encourage poor nutritional habits in children.

Ferrero, which makes Nutella, argued that back in 2008, it had responded to the ASA relating to similar complaints. It said it had subsequently made changes to its advertising.

Furthermore, it pointed out that the VoD programmes the ad had been viewed in were of the nature that meant ads for HFSS (high in fat, salt or sugar) foods could be featured in ad breaks on programmes such as 'Jamie's American Food Revolution'.

In addition to adhering to HFSS restrictions, Ferrero had its own policy, which was  designed to avoid the placing of ads for Nutella around programmes relating to a range of issues, including health and obesity.

But Ferrero said that since the ASA had contacted it relating to the VoD complaints, it had discovered it was not possible to control the scheduling of ads around programmes accessed via VoD services.

Ferrero said it subsequently realised it that the system would not pick up on Ferrerro's voluntary restrictions, which were over and above the HFSS restrictions placed on ads.

The company said that in hindsight, the ad should not have appeared in or around the Jamie Oliver programme, and had no plans to advertise Nutella via VoD services in future.

In terms of the TV ad, Ferrero said it considered it the opposite of encouraging poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle.

In its ruling, the ASA said that the ad did not imply that Nutella’s only ingredients consisted of hazelnuts, skimmed milk and cocoa, deciding that the ad did not mislead viewers or encourage them to have an unhealthy amount of the product.

The ASA did not find the ad likely to encourage poor nutritional habits in children and it decided not to ban the ad.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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