Coke shelves Lowe's £4m Dasani launch amid cancer scare

Coca-Cola has been forced to abandon the £4 million TV launch of Dasani bottled water at the 11th hour after a cancer scare involving the brand.

Lowe had spent the past six months evolving a campaign to launch the product in the UK. Now the work, which should have broken on Friday, is on hold as doubts grow that it will ever see the light of day.

Coca-Cola agreed to withdraw all 500,000 bottles from UK outlets after reports emerged that the water contained high levels of a potentially carcinogenic chemical.

As a result, the TV airtime booked to launch Dasani was taken over by other Coca-Cola brands. A six-sheet poster campaign, which had already broken in major urban areas, has been cut short.

Despite its success in the US, where it is the second most popular bottled water, the brand has been dogged by controversy in Britain. Soon after it went on sale, national newspapers carried stories that the "pure" product was taken from the mains supply at Dasani's Sidcup factory.

"If it hadn't been for the cancer scare, the TV ads would have run and the product could have been explained," an industry source said. "It could have overcome its tabloid associations with Del Boy Trotter."

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