The ad featured an animation of the Yakult bottle, which tied in with what was said in a voice-over. While the bottle was shown skipping, the voice-over said, ‘At Yakult, we appreciate the importance of regular exercise routines’; while it was walking a tight-rope, the voice-over said, ‘We know how important it is to keep life in balance’; and while it was pole vaulting, the voice-over said, ‘to overcome life’s obstacles. Just like Yakult’s unique bacteria that are scientifically proven to reach the gut alive’.
The ASA considered that the references to sport, regular exercise and keeping a balanced life, both in the voice-over and the animation, together with the claim about the probiotic bacteria Lactobaillus casei Shirota (LcS) reaching the gut alive and the closing statement, Yakult. A bottle for you every day, formed a general impression that there was a health advantage to drinking Yakult.
Because we considered that the ad implied general benefits of Yakult to overall good health and the ad did not contain a relevant, authorised health claim, we concluded that it breached the Code, said the ASA in its report. The Ad has bas been banned.
So what now for food and beverage companies, even those, such as Yakult, armed with a battalion of supporting trials to substantiate the benefits of the product? This ruling highlights that if ingredients do not, like probiotics, have an approved health claim, they do not have an approved health claim! And, woe betide you imply that your product containing that ingredient contributes to good health.
Marketing teams everywhere are likely to be rethinking many of their campaigns right now as a result of this decision, because it appears, in the UK at least, that very little leeway will be offered to those aspiring to build on their healthy image without a health claim, in future.
Claire Rowan is group technical editor, FoodBev Media.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019