Business setback as UK censures Tata Tetley ad

Thursday, 24 October 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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LONDON: The Tata-owned Tetley Tea's business prospects in Britain suffered a setback when its new advertising campaign suggesting that tea is good for the heart was censured by an industry ethics watchdog.

Tetley was censured also for suggesting people who drink tea live longer.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Britain Tuesday ordered Tetley to withdraw the posters after declaring them "misleading". The decision comes as a blow to Tetley because it takes away its new sales motif.

Tata withdrew the old traditional Tetley tea folk characters after buying the company three years ago. The old characters had been associated with Tetley for 28 years.

The Advertising Standards Authority faulted Tetley for publishing the advertisements even after it had ruled earlier that claims that tea is good for the heart are unsubstantiated.

Tetley got rid of the old tea folk characters associated with the tea that used to be drawn on its packaging in February this year. The abandonment of those characters that had fronted Tetley advertisements for 28 years has evidently not helped Tetley.

Tetley had launched an advertising campaign to promote the new sales logo at a cost of 15 million pounds (750 million).

The ads had said "Tetley (picture of heart) U", and "Go on, live a lot", while a caption underneath stated: "Tetley is rich in antioxidants that can keep your heart healthy."

This led to a complaint by the Food Commission, an independent group campaigning for healthier food. Tetley produced 31 studies and an expert opinion to support its claim that tea can help the health of the heart.

The watchdog said it had found no proven link between drinking tea and better health.

"Although antioxidants might help prevent coronary heart disease, the advertisers' evidence did not address variables, such as type of antioxidants in Tetley tea and level of antioxidants absorbed by tea drinkers," it said.

The Food Commission also complained that the phrase "Go on, live a lot" suggested that drinking tea would prolong life.

Source: IANS
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