Two Kellogg’s Special K adverts have been “banned from appearing in their current form” for claiming products are “nutritious” and “full of goodness”.
The watchdog ruled that the adverts’ “general health claims” were not obviously backed by a “specific authorised health claim” and could therefore be misunderstood by customers.
The breakfast brand came under fire after an investigation from the Advertising Standards Authority on a TV ad for Special K porridge and an online description of Special K cereals.
Under ASA rules, brands are banned from making “general health claims” unless they are backed up by a specific health benefit for the consumer.
In the TV ad for porridge, a voiceover stated: “Special K. Full of deliciousness. Full of colour. And now, with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and raspberries. Our new five grain super porridge is full of goodness.”
The ASA received a complaint suggesting the phrase “full of goodness’ was misleading.
In the advert, on-screen text later stated: “Special K porridge contains vitamin B2 which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin.”
The ASA ruled that the information on vitamin B2 should appear “next to or immediately following” the phrase “full of goodness”, as they considered the latter be a general health claim.
Similarly, the ASA ruled that claims on the brand’s website, specialk.co.uk, could no longer appear in their current form.
A section promoting the Special K range stated: “All Special K flakes are made with our unique Nutri K™ recipe making a nutritious and delicious start to your day.”
However, the ASA noted that customers had to click through a further two pages to reach the dedicated page for Nutri K™ flakes.
“That page listed a specific authorised health claim alongside a list of nutrients found in the flakes. However, accompanying specific health claims should appear next to or immediately following the general health claim,” the ASA said.
“We therefore concluded the presentation of the claim, as it appeared on the home page, breached the Code.”
A spokesperson from Special K said the company is pleased the ASA acknowledged that Kellogg’s has authorised health claims for both the Special K Porridge advert and the Special K website, such as the reference to vitamin B2 and the list of nutrients.
“However, we apologise for the error in not ensuring this was made clear enough for our consumers. This has now been corrected,” they told The Huffington Post UK.
“Special K is nutritious - its cereals and porridges contain fibre and wholegrain, and are a source of valuable vitamins and minerals.”