Dough! Kelloggs rapped for misleading cookie claims

4 February 2009

Another case of what we like to call bullshit-baffles-brains has come to light, courtesy of the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). This time it involves the folks at Kelloggs and their ambiguous advertising for Nutri-Grain Soft Oaties biscuits.

Now before we even begin, it's fair to say that the perception of any product prefixed with Nutri-Grain is that it's healthy; that's what years of marketing has conditioned us to think. With that in mind, let's consider the following:

The press ad was headlined "Wholesome cookie goodness"; the letter "o" in each case was replaced by a cookie. Below, the ad showed a pack shot of the product, which featured a flash stating "Calories 181 9%" and the text "Made with oats & wheat, source of fibre, 6 B vitamins & iron.  Enjoy as part of a healthy balanced diet & lifestyle"


The poster was headlined "Wholesome cookie goodness" and showed the front of a box of the Soft Oaties.  Small print in the bottom right-hand corner stated "Made with oats & wheat, source of fibre, 6 B vitamins & iron.  Enjoy as part of a healthy balanced diet & lifestyle"

So we have a Nutri-Grain product full of wholesome goodness, made with oats and wheat, that's a source of blah blah blah and so on. You'd probably believe these biscuits to be disgustingly healthy, and indeed you'd be correct, except that they're also high in sugar, fat, saturated fat and made from people, like in Soylent Green*.

What gives, Kelloggs?

Kellogg Company of GB Ltd (Kellogg's) said they had made it clear they were advertising a cookie, not a healthier snack.

No you hadn't. You'd made it about as clear as Marc Bolan's windscreen** by calling the products oaties and not cookies. If you'd wanted to make it clear, you'd have called them cookies to start with and then there'd have been no doubt whatsoever. It won't come as a Sixth Sense-style twist to learn that the ASA agreed:

The ASA considered that readers would view the headline claim "Wholesome cookie goodness" in both ads in the context of the additional text that stated "Made with oats & wheat, source of fibre, 6 B vitamins & iron.  Enjoy as part of a healthy balanced diet & lifestyle". We also noted the Soft Oaties were high in sugar, fat and saturated fat and considered that, by referring only to those ingredients that could convey a nutritional benefit without also referring to those that might have a negative impact on health, the ad could imply the snack was wholly beneficial to health.

Next week: Kelloggs show you how to cut through glass with a pair of scissors, but only if you do it underwater.

* The last ingredient is fictitious and not found Nutri-Grain Soft Oaties, only Hula Hoops.

** Yes, we know it wasn't Bolan's car, and that the crash was not caused by impaired vision. Cheers.

TOPICS:   Advertising


  • chrisg
    How could anyone looking at that pack, of a cookie, think they are beneficial to health?! They're quite oaty, compared to a normal cookie so if you are goign to have a treat, then might as well make it one of these..
  • badmanz
    3 of the chocalate ones makes my breakfast. im not a fatty.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment