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Unilever UK cleared over 'misleading' ice cream website info

By Mark Astley , 03-Oct-2012

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint that the website for Unilever-owned Walls Ice Cream gave a misleading nutritional “impression” of its ice cream products.

The complaint, which was lodged by the Children’s Food Campaign, challenged whether the text and images in a number of adds on the website gave a “misleading impression” of Unilever-manufactured Twister, Solero, Calippo, Cornetto and Frusi Pot ice creams.  

The petitioner questioned whether the adverts, which featured on the Walls Ice Cream website – www.loveicecream.com, implied a high level of fruit content in the products.

“The Children’s Food Campaign (Sustain) challenged whether the text and images in ads (a), (b) and (c) gave a misleading impression of the nutritional value of the Twister, Solero, Calippo, Cornetto and Frusi Pot ice creams because the implied a high level of fruit content which the products did not warrant,” said the ASA judgment.

Following a review of the adverts, the ASA judged that no further action was necessary.

‘Love fruit’

The complaint relates to three adverts on the website. Advert (a) featured product information about Twister brand ice creams, advert (b) featured product information about Mini Twister lollies, and advert (c) featured an image of a Solero ice cream and mixing bowl full of ice cream and fruit.

All adverts featured or were accessible by clicking on the ‘Love fruit’ banner.

The ASA decided that adverts (a) and (b) gave information, but did not make any health claims.

“The ASA considered that the two product pages in ads (a) and (b) gave product information but did not make any nutritional or health claims. We acknowledged that the main focus of these pages was on the refreshing aspect of the products rather than their nutritional value,” said the judgment.

The ASA also judged that the amount of fruit on the page in advert (c) was not sufficient to imply that a high level of fruit was present in the products, and did not “give a misleading impression their nutritional value.”

Because we considered that the imagery and text of ads (a), (b) and (c) were appropriate to the products and did not over-emphasize the fruit content of the ice creams, we concluded that the ads were not misleading.”

Not misleading

The ASA judgment added that at the time of the complaint Unilever UK Ltd was in the process of launching an entirely new website, which has now replaced www.loveicecream.com.

“They stressed that they went to great lengths to ensure their advertising was fair and truthful. They explained that they had their advertising reviewed by legal and technical professionals before publication to ensure it compiled with all applicable laws, regulations and self-regulatory codes and that they followed their own internal guidelines prohibiting advertising which undermined the promotion of healthy, balanced lifestyles,” said the ASA document.

“They did not believe that the three web pages in question gave a misleading impression of the fruit content of the ice cream products,” it added.

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