Red Bull cautioned by ASA for London underground ad

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

Red Bull has been cautioned by the Advertising Standards Authority for suggesting their energy drink aids concentration.

The ad was part of Redbull's '4PM Finish' customer initiative that encouraged workers to leave work one hour early on Friday 14 September.

A poster for Red Bull, seen on 11 September 2018 on the London Underground network, featured a cartoon of two women smiling and whistling in front of a can of Red Bull.

Text next to the cartoon stated: "The secret to finishing early. Plans are afoot to finish at four, But first, you have meetings and deadlines galore. So remember the secret of every office superstar, And tame every task that’s thrown on your radar. Because to leap every hurdle a hectic day brings, You just need to know: Red Bull gives you wiiings."

The complainant challenged whether the ad implied Red Bull had a beneficial effect on health, in particular focus and concentration.

In its defence, Red Bull claimed that the ad did not depict its energy drink being consumed, and the text did not suggest its drink delivered a health benefit.

Red Bull also said the ad’s imagery did not include a depiction of their product being consumed or even show the product in a state capable of being consumed.

But the ASA concluded that the line "to leap every hurdle a hectic day brings" implied that Red Bull could improve consumer's mental focus, concentration and energy levels and so breached the CAP Code rules on food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims.

The ad was therefore upheld by the ASA, who ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

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