Chewits internet game dodges food pressure group complaint

Chewits has prevailed against Sustain, after the campaign group failed to convince the advertising watchdog that an internet game for the chewy sweets was peddling false health credentials.

Chewits: ASA clears brand's online game of promoting false health claims
Chewits: ASA clears brand's online game of promoting false health claims

The online game was devised by creative consultancy Tayburn and attracted the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after a complaint by Sustain, the Alliance for Better Food and Farming.

The game on the website,, directed an animated dinosaur called 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 challenged whether the game gave a misleading impression of the nutritional or health benefits of Chewits, as it suggested to children that eating Chewits was equivalent to eating fruit.

Leaf Italia, which owns the Chewits brand, argued that Chewits was clearly positioned as a treat that should not be eaten as a meal replacement.

The company pointed to the "Parents" page on the Chewits website, which provided advice about responsible consumption and linked to other websites that provided more information on how the treats should be enjoyed responsibly. Chewits also pointed out that it ran a national children's sports programme.

Leaf Italia said Sustain was wrong to believe the game implied the products were healthy to the equivalent of eating fruit. The company said there was a clear distinction in the way the fruit and sports equipment appeared in the game, to the way the Chewits appeared.

The advertising watchdog concluded 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.

However, crucially, the ASA ruled that adults and children who were old enough to navigate the website and play the game, would be aware that Chewits were sweets that had fruit flavourings.

It noted that the game was "clearly" set in a fictitious situation, meaning that those who played the game were likely to infer that Chewits had intrinsic nutritional benefits.

It ruled that the game could continue and no action was necessary.

Follow John Reynolds on Twitter @johnreynolds10