New Decisions: Dairy’s Nutritional Benefits, Health Claims About Alcohol and More

The following decisions have been published:

Dairy’s Nutritional Role Supported

The television advertisement for Fonterra showed two dairy farmers talking about milk powder concentrate and its role as a nutritional supplement in the recovery of Dylan Davidson from a serious accident. The advertisement showed various aspects of Dylan’s recovery, including physiotherapy and wheelchair sport, and one farmer said, in part: “our milk protein concentrate is an ingredient that is used in medical nutritional products all around the world. That was the catalyst to bring Dylan back from the brink. It gives him strength, it gives him muscle mass. You can see it when he’s training.” The advertisement concludes with the onscreen message: “From here to everywhere. Fonterra.”

A complainant said the advertisement was misleading because it was “insinuating that dairy somehow aids in the recovery and rehabilitation of serious accidents” which was not substantiated. The Complainant also said the advertisement was insensitive as it minimised the hard work of the patient and Doctor.

The Advertiser provided information to support that milk powder concentrate, used as an ingredient in specialised medical foods, provides essential nutrition as a part of recovery from serious accidents and illness. They said the advertisement does not claim nor seek to imply that milk protein concentrate is the sole contributor to Dylan’s recovery, it is merely one part of that equation. The visual elements of Dylan working out and playing sport give context to this message.

The Complaints Board said the representation of milk powder in the advertisement was supported by the information provided by the Advertiser that, as an ingredient in specialised medical foods, it provides essential nutrition as a part of recovery from serious accidents and illness. It said there was nothing about the depiction of Dylan’s recovery that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to most people taking into account prevailing community standards. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

Humour No Excuse for Therapeutic Claims About Alcohol

The WHET Drinking Room Facebook page promoted the gin bar with a weekly satirical Public Health Message. This advertisement stated: “Public Health Message. Did you know that gin is one of the best natural remedies for kidney and liver disease? Now this may seem somewhat ironic, however juniper berries, which gin is made from, help stop water retention in your body. Allowing you to pass more water than any other alcohol. This means that more harmful toxins and bacteria are flushed out your system. Get into whet this week and start your liver recovery. Whet Drinking Room… Flushing livers since 2015. Please share.”

The Complainant said the Facebook post had gone too far in promoting the health benefits of drinking gin and breached the guidelines for advertising alcohol by making therapeutic claims.

The Advertiser said the advertisement in question was part of WHET Drinking Room’s satirical weekly public health messages. The Advertiser said these were not intended to be taken seriously and the vast majority of people viewing their Facebook page appreciated the humour for what it was.

The Complaints Board agreed the advertisement made therapeutic claims about the benefits of gin and presented them in a factual manner. The Complaints Board said that although the satirical nature of the advertisement was likely to be obvious to many consumers, the restriction on making therapeutic claims about alcohol in the Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol [INSERT LINK] did not allow for the use of humour. The Complaints Board said the advertisement had not been prepared with a high standard of social responsibility, but agreed the advertisement did not encourage excessive consumption or promote alcohol as a more attractive lifestyle choice. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Upheld in part and Not Upheld in part.