A judge is being asked to overturn a ruling by advertising
watchdogs that health claims made for Ribena ToothKind children’s
beverage are misleading and unsubstantiated.
SmithKline Beecham, the product’s manufacturer, said it will seek a
judicial review of the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision.
The ASA’s verdict brings to an end a long-running campaign against the
brand by the pressure group Action and Information on Sugars. The group
disputes SKB’s claim that the drink does not encourage tooth decay.
The ruling against a poster and magazine campaign produced by Grey for
Ribena ToothKind is a blow for SKB, which launched the product two years
ago in an attempt to rehabilitate the Ribena brand after widespread
criticisms of its effect on children’s teeth.
It has also provoked a bitter war of words between SKB and the AIS,
which has called for Ribena ToothKind to be withdrawn in the light of
the ASA’s decision and for the British Dental Association to remove its
accreditation of the product. The BDA said it still supported the health
claims made for the brand.
Meanwhile, SKB has accused the AIS of undermining Ribena ToothKind using
a combination of ’untruths and misinformation’.
The company said it was going to court because it had exhausted the
ASA’s appeals process and because it believed that the watchdog was not
equipped to evaluate the claims.
An ASA spokesman said: ’A judge can rule only on the way an ASA decision
is made, not the decision itself. We will defend our position.’