By Ian Neubauer
Coca-Cola South Pacific – the marketing arms of Coca-Cola beverages in Australia – will publish corrective ads in leading newspapers about its ‘myth-busting’ campaign following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The bottler will also publish a corrective advertisement and correct levels of caffeine for its products on its website makeeverydropmatter.com.au.
The action relates to a 2008 campaign ‘Kerry Armstrong on Motherhood and Myth-busting’, in which the actress claimed Coca-Cola products cannot contribute to weight gain, obesity or teeth decay and have half the amount of caffeine found in tea.
The ACCC said in a statement it believes the advertisement had the potential to mislead consumers with what it describes as unacceptable and misleading messages.
“After seeing the myth-busting campaign, the ACCC was immediately concerned about the misleading messages it was likely to send to consumers, and in particular to mothers who are often the decision-makers about family nutrition,” the watchdog said.
“Coke’s messages were totally unacceptable … They also had the potential to mislead parents about the potential consequences of consuming Coca-Cola.”
Coca-Cola South Pacific said its intention was not to mislead but to provide information to help balance the debate about whether Coca-Cola can be part of a balance diet.
“Importantly, the ACCC accepts our position that Coca-Cola can be part of a balanced, sensible diet combined with an active lifestyle. Good nutrition is about balance, variety and moderation,” the company said in a statement.
“We certainly did not intend our message to be misleading and we have been working with the ACCC to address its concerns. The ACCC were concerned we oversimplified some complex topics and we acknowledge we should have provided more information. As a result, we have agreed to publish a further advertisement to clarify parts of our message.”