Coke ad banned for misleading exercise claims

Coca-Cola: ASA bans ad
Coca-Cola: ASA bans ad

Coca-Cola has had an ad banned for misleading consumers about the amount of physical activity they would need to do in order to burn off the calories in a can of the drink.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has clamped down on the soft drinks firm for a 30-second ad that led consumers to believe 75 seconds of "laughing out loud" could burn off 139 calories.

Coca-Cola has criticised the ASA’s ruling by pointing out only ten people contacted the ad watchdog about the ad despite it reaching an audience of 39 million people.

A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said: "The advert was intended to explain how people can help manage their energy balance by actively burning off calories consumed. Given the growing problem of obesity, we believe it is important for more people to understand this information.

"Raising awareness of energy balance is part of our global commitment to help tackle obesity and we will continue to use our advertising to address it."

Viewers objected to the ad that featured a picture of a Coca-Cola can alongside text stating "= 139 Happy Calories", followed by a series of activities and on-screen text describing activities with messages such as "10 minutes of letting your body do the talking +" and "75 seconds of laughing out loud +".

The ASA decided to ban the ad after ruling creative was ambiguous and did not clearly communicate to all viewers that it was a combination of all the activities depicted that would burn off 139 calories.

Coca-Cola managed to escape a further reprimand from the ASA over viewer complaints that the 30-second ad and a separate 120-second ad implied a general health claim.

The ASA accepted the 30-second spot was presenting general information about the calorie content of its drinks rather than making health claims about the products featured in the ad.

Another viewer complained a 120-second TV ad that described Coca-Cola’s ongoing commitment to tackling obesity was also guilty of implying a general health claim.

The ASA accepted the ad presented factual information about the brand and health issues, but did not consider the claims implied a general health claim for particular products featured in the TV ad.

Separately, an ad for Diet Coke that showed a woman rolling a can down a hill to a man operating a lawn mower escaped a ban after a viewer complained it was likely to "condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health or safety". 

In March this year, Coke ran two TV ad campaigns aimed at highlighting its efforts to combat obesity.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers