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Advertiser: Britvic Ireland Limited
Agency: Cawley Nea/TBWA
ASAI Code 6th Edition: 1.6(c), 2.9, 2.22, 2.24
The scene for the advertisement was set in a park with a group of children playing happily around a fountain. One boy ran around the fountain, while other children sat on the paved ground drawing pictures of fish and other creatures.
Three adults sat at a picnic table, one woman was pouring Miwadi from a bottle into a large jug of water. There were three bowls of fruit on the table containing grapes, blueberries and oranges. As the woman made up the jug of Miwadi, the creatures which the children had been drawing on the ground come to life. This was followed by an animated scene, where a whale jumped in the water and splashed the children. A pirate ship appeared and the whale swam alongside it. A group of cockatoos flew together and one flew out of the animated scene onto the arm of one of the girls playing around the fountain.
While the above scenes ensued a female voiceover (FVO) stated:
“A little splash of Miwadi can help this imaginative bunch drink the water they need each day.”
The onscreen text read:
“5 calorie per glass, claim based on an average 50ml serving of MiWadi diluted in 200ml of water.”
The woman who made the Miwadi then called out to the children ‘guys’. The children ran to the picnic table to have a glass of Miwadi. The woman towel dried one boy’s hair while he drank his glass of orange. The FVO was heard again and stated:
“Just add MiWadi”.
Once again the onscreen text read:
“5 calories per glass.”
The complainant said that she considered the advertising to be misleading as it implied that there was a positive health benefit for children who drank MiWadi, insofar as it encouraged them to drink water. She said that she considered that there was no basis in fact to this assertion and that the negative effects of adding flavourings to drinks included tooth decay (even if the drink was sugar free). She considered it to be widely accepted that the healthiest option for children to drink was milk or water.
The advertisers’ advertising agency responded on their behalf and said that their client was a trusted brand owner who went to great lengths to ensure that their advertising was in conformity with the requirements of the Code. They said that the scope of the advertising in question was to bring the MiWadi brand purpose to life in an engaging and fun way by communicating the message in relation to fluid intake and the fact that a glass of MiWadi contained only five calories. They said the target audience for the advertising in question was young mums aged 30-45 years who were trying to choose a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle for their children. They said that the advertisement had not aired during children’s programming.
The advertisers’ agency said that the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF) stated that “Water plays an important role in health with an average total body water being 80% in children, 60% in adults and 50% in the elderly…..staying hydrated is extremely important in order to have the body function at its best, and to replace lost fluids. All non-alcoholic fluids hydrate. That includes water, milk, juices and juice drinks, tea, coffee, still and sparkling soft drinks...” One of their tips for staying hydrated was to “Ensure children have access to water at all times. Variety can be increased by adding sugar free squashes, well diluted fruit and vegetable juices, or sugar free flavoured waters.”
They said the Health Service Executive (HSE) stated that “You should drink about 1.2 litres (six to eight glasses) of fluid every day to prevent dehydration. It is fine to have drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee and cola, but they are mild diuretics, which mean they make you urinate more. Drink these alongside non-caffeine drinks and increase your intake of water if you experience any signs of dehydration.”
Likewise they said that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) guidelines recommended that “At least 8-10 cups of fluid are needed every day and this can come from fluids in the foods eaten as well as water, milk, tea and coffee. Adults need 8-10 cups of fluid every day. Most of this comes from food itself (all food contains water) and drinks such as tea, coffee, milk as well as water… ‘Diet’ soft drinks (sugar-free) can sometimes be taken for variety, but not too often. This is because the acid they contain can still be harmful to teeth if taken too frequently...”
Having regard to the above, the agency said they respectfully contended that their client had sufficient grounds to substantiate the overall impression created by their advertising. They said that the advertising had in no way suggested or implied that all the fluids which a child drank during the course of the day should be MiWadi. The intended message to be conveyed to their target audience was that a ‘spalsh’ of MiWadi could be included in a glass of water to help children take in their required recommended daily fluid allowance.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that there was no suggestion on the part of the advertisers that all drinks which children drank should be MiWadi. They also noted that the HSE and FSAI alongside other health organisations considered it acceptable to include soft drinks occasionally as part of a wide-ranging fluid intake. The Complaints Committee concluded that the advertising had not breached the requirements of the Code.