New Zealand Law Society - Ad body rules ice cream and happiness claim is irresponsible

Ad body rules ice cream and happiness claim is irresponsible

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that an advertisement claiming that “ice cream makes you happy” is socially irresponsible.

The ad for three Streets ice creams - Paddle Pop, Magnum and Splice - was seen by the complainant on the outside wall of a food market in Whangarei. Next to the images of the three products was the claim, in capital letters.

The complainant was concerned the message was irresponsible given the obesity and mental health problems that exist in New Zealand. The complainant said food should not be advertised as a way to improve people’s mood, given that ice cream is high in fat and sugar.

In response the advertiser said the target audience for the advertisement is adults, that ice cream is an occasional food and the ad does not condone excessive consumption.

A majority of the ASA’s complaints board said the ad did not target children or young people, because although the product has high appeal to children and young people, the presentation of the advertisement has limited appeal to children or young people. In addition, the store is also a wine and beer shop and all the local schools are at least a kilometre away.

However, a majority of the board said the ad was socially irresponsible because it could undermine the health and well-being of individuals, and therefore the complaint was upheld.