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Product: Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Advertiser: Keith's Cacao
Medium: Online - Social Media
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.17, 3.18, 3.19, 4.1. 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 8.1, 8.8, 8.9
A sponsored post on Instagram opened with the title ‘Your Libido and Cacao’. It then went on to enumerate supposed benefits of ceremonial cacao.
The first caption was ‘Did you know that Ceremonial Cacao can help you feel more sexually confident?’ This caption was under a video of a woman reclining.
The next caption was ‘Cacao increases your blood circulation and uplifts your mood. It helps you feel more connected, present and open.’ This caption was under a video of a woman lying down with her two arms outstretched above her head cradling another’s hand in her hands.
The third and last caption was ‘Ceremonial Cacao can also reduce nervousness and help you to relax, inspiring you to feel more self-assured and sexy!’ This caption was under a video a woman’s neck, with her hand resting on her neck and a flower being drawn over her clavicle. She was wearing a top with two thin straps.
The caption under the video was ‘Could your libido use a boost? Ceremonial Cacao increases self- confidence, excitement and your desire for love. #love #lovers #turnedon #romance #couples #connect #cacao #ceremonialcacao #natural #superfood #sexpositive #valetinesday #vday #bemine’.
The complainant considered the advertising to have made unsubstantiated claims as to the health benefits of ceremonial cacao.
The complainant believed that the advertising played upon insecurities women may have concerning their sexual health.
The complainant considered that the advertising objectified women as sex objects.
Issues 1, 2 and 3:
The advertisers said they did not agree with the complainant’s assessment of the advertising but did not elaborate as to why they disagreed. They also said that they had long ago stopped running this advertisement.
The Executive noted that the advertisement was also available to view on the advertisers’ own Instagram account as a reel.
The Executive examined the EU Register (Food and Feed Information Portal Database | FIP (europa.eu)) and noted that there were no approved health claims related to cacao.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted the advertisers’ comment that the sponsored post was no longer running, however, the Committee also noted that the content was available to view on the advertisers’ own Instagram account.
Issue 1: Upheld
The Committee noted that the advertisers had stated they disagreed with the complaint’s assessment but had failed to say why they disagreed. The Committee noted the requirements of the Code in relation to substantiation (4.9 and 4.10) as well as those related to health claims on food products (8.1, 8.2 and 8.9). The Committee noted that no evidence had been provided for the claims in the advertising. They also noted that there were no approved health claims for cacao on the EU Register. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the advertisement was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 8.8, and 8.9 of the Code.
Issue 2: Not Upheld
The Committee noted that the advertisers has not provided any comment regarding the complaint issue, other than that they did not agree with the complaint. The Committee also noted that the advertising was no longer running, which they noted applied to the sponsored content. The Committee noted that while the advertisement had only featured images of women, and while no information had been provided as to the target audience of the advertising, there was nothing to suggest in the onscreen text or hashtags that the advertisement was exclusively targeting women. The Committee noted the concerns raised, however, while they noted that various clams had been made as to the benefits of the product, they did not consider that the advertising played upon a female’s insecurities regarding their sexual health. In the circumstances, the Committee did not consider that the advertisement was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised.
Issue 3: Not Upheld
The Committee noted that the advertisers has not provided any comment in regard to the complaint issue, other than that they did not agree with the complaint. The Committee also noted the advertisers’ comment that the advertising was no longer running, which they noted applied to the sponsored content. The Committee noted that while the advertisement had featured only women, this did not mean the footage in itself was objectifying. The Committee considered that, in the context of the product and the benefits described, there was sufficient link between the content of the images and what was being advertised. As such they did not consider the advertisement unnecessarily provocative or explicit, given this reasonable context. When all factors were taken into consideration, they did not consider the advertisement to have objectified women. In the circumstances, the Committee did not consider that the advertisement was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form.
The Committee noted that the sponsored advertisement was no longer running, however, the advertisement was still available to view on the advertisers’ own Instagram account.