It has ruled that the advert breached BCAP code rules 13.4 and 13.4.2 and Committee of Advertising Practice code rules 15.1 and 15.1.1 and received 63 complaints.
The campaign, launched in January 2013, features footballer Gareth Bale and rugby players Chris Robshaw, Richie Gray and Leigh Halfpenny and included outdoor advertising as well as a TV campaign.
The TV advertisement shows two groups of men being monitored by lab equipment and technicians, running on treadmills. The ad ends with the text ‘Hydrates and fuels you better than water’ while showing the water-drinking group collapsing in a heap and the Lucozade Sport group continuing to run with ease and celebrating.
Natural Hydration Council general manager Kinvara Carey said: “We are pleased with the decision by the ASA to uphold our complaint regarding the high-profile Lucozade Sport advertising campaign. There is already much confusion over the role of sports drinks, and for the majority of people participating in exercise and sporting activities, water is all that is needed for effective hydration. The majority of sports drinks contain calories and may only have a positive contribution to make to professional athletes and those participating in high intensity, endurance activity.”
Research conducted by OnePoll with 2,000 consumers in February 2013 showed that nearly 80% of people surveyed said they would normally choose water for hydration before seeing the Lucozade Sport TV commercial. However, after viewing the ad, over 55% said they understood the message was that Lucozade Sport is better than water for hydration during any exercise.
Despite being designed for those who are highly physically active, a further piece of research from the Natural Hydration Council in 2012 revealed that over 11 million adults across Britain consume sports drinks while sitting at their office desks. In addition, a further third of low-intensity exercisers also consume these drinks when exercising for ‘extra energy’, despite not even breaking a sweat.
Additional industry reports value the sports and energy drinks sector in grocery retail at over £1bn in 2013 (data from Nielsen, 2013).
Professor Paul Gately, Carnegie professor of exercise and obesity and director of MoreLife at Leeds Metropolitan University, said: “The claims made in this advert were not supported by the scientific evidence for carbohydrate electrolyte solutions. Sports drinks can help to hydrate during and after intense, endurance exercise, but there are many factors to take into consideration, including how physically active the person is to begin with and what they have consumed that day. Most people exercise for less than 60 minutes per day and tend not to participate at an intensity in which sports drinks could make a positive contribution. For the majority of people, water is the best choice.”
Dr Emma Derbyshire, senior lecturer in nutritional physiology at Manchester Metropolitan University and advisor to the Natural Hydration Council, said: “It is great to hear the outcome of this investigation as sports drinks are really only relevant for a small percentage of people engaged with exercise and sport. Most of us don’t exercise for over 60 minutes at the kind of intensity that would require a sports drink, and therefore water is perfectly adequate and contains zero calories, sugar and additives.”
Source: Natural Hydration Council
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