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Yoplait pulls Calin+ ad after ASA bone health claim ruling

By Mark Astley , 27-Feb-2013

Yoplait has been ordered to pull a TV advert for its Calin+ yogurt range after the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that it made an unauthorised reduction of disease-risk (RDR) claim.

The advertising watchdog launched an investigation after receiving a number of complaints that challenged whether the commercial misleadingly implied that Calin+ yogurts could help to reduce the risk of weak or damaged bones by making them stronger.

The advert featured a woman talking about her mother.

“Last year, my mum fell badly. She was stuck at home for months. She knew calcium was important so, I thought she was taking good care of her bones. I just didn’t get it,” said the woman.

“But what I’ve just learnt is that vitamin D is also very important on top. It helps fix the calcium on to the bones. It really made me think. So I’ve started eating new Calin+ every day. It’s the only yoghurt from Yoplait to bring 100% of the daily need in vitamin D in one single pot. And it’s so good. You should try it too,” she said.

“New Calin+, calcium plus vitamin D for strong bones,” a voiceover added.

The ASA ruled that the commercial created “an overall impression that vitamin D in addition to calcium could help reduce the risk of suffering a bone fracture” and judged that it could be interpreted as making an unauthorised RDR claim.

Yoplait was instructed not to broadcast the advert again “in its current form.”

“Calcium plus vitamin D for strong bones”

In response to the complaints, Yoplait claimed that its aim was to increase awareness about the important role played by vitamin D in bone health.  It stated its belief that the advert “made it clear to viewers that the health claim related to the ingredients, rather than Calin+ itself.”

Yoplait also referred the ASA to two European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions – one relating to calcium, the other to vitamin D. Both opinions detailed a link between dietary intake and bone health.

The ASA accepted the submitted EFSA opinions as “valid scientific reports” and concluded that the health claim had been “substantiated.” It did, however, take exception to the dialogue used within the advert.

According to the ASA, the sentence “She was stuck at home for months” implied that the mother had suffered from a bone fracture.  It also determined that the sentence “She knew calcium was important, so I thought she was taking good care of her bone” implied that had she been aware of the role played by dietary vitamin D in bone health she may not have suffered a fracture.

“Consequently, we considered it could be interpreted as making a reduction of disease-risk claim (RDR claim),” said the ASA ruling.

“No RDR claims for calcium or vitamin D had been authorised by Commission and we therefore concluded on that point, the ad breached the Code.”

Advert not misleading - Clearcast

Clearcast, which specialises in advertising compliance, disagreed with the ASA ruling. It stated that it did not believe the advert was misleading.

Yoplait confirmed that it will comply with the ASA ruling, but maintained its defence of the advert.

“Yoplait’s responsibility is to comply everywhere with regulations and Advertising Codes and to ensure consumers are satisfied. With reference to the yoghurt ad in question, the aim of the ad is to introduce the subject of bone health which is a major Public Health concern and make consumers aware of the importance of both vitamin D and calcium in the diet: a claim which is authorised,” said Yoplait Group director of nutrition and regulatory, Brigitte Rousseau.

“Despite this and approval of the ad by Clearcast, we will comply with the ASA request.”

Rousseau added that a revised advert was already on air.

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