Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I know I shouldn't be watching TV....

A couple of nights ago, I caught the latest ad (probably a few months old) from Mondelez, advertising their new wholesome snack. It's marketed specifically at kids and their (Mondelez hopes) easily brain-washed parents.

To say the advert is misleading is putting it mildly. It's one of the most cynical ads (in an ocean of the usual lies and dubious claims we're peddled nightly) I've seen in a long time.

This 30s masterpiece of misdirection and weasel is mostly imagery of: wheat fields, open countryside, fresh food. But it is selling a high sugar biscuity sponge of little or no nutritional value. 

First shot: Doting mother giving child glass of milk at the kitchen table, two bowls of fruit in vision, fresh herbs and pictures of cows, trees, chickens etc on walls. Two bowls of fruit - already the alarm bells are ringing.

Enter Barny, our friendly bear who lives in a wheat field where the sun always shines.

"I need your help navigating", he says - Navigating what? (Subliminal message: Healthy food choices perhaps, or how to get around your parents when they deny you your favourite sugar hit?)

More shots of green and wheat and trees. A blue sky with fluffy white clouds. Through a hay gateway into a lake/river of chocolate. Yes-sirree, that's perfectly natural.

The sun shines on as our hero is exercising with his new friend (how fit and healthy can you get, eh?) on a bouncy sponge cake hill.

Voice-over: "Introducing Barny, a sponge snack made with ingredients like wheat, chocolate and eggs" - We see a pack shot, but also wheat, chocolate, eggs, a JUG of milk, olive oil (?) - and a stick-on type emblem with a green leaf which is clearly a rip of the Fairtrade logo. The logo proudly proclaims "No artificial colours, no preservatives".

Ingredients LIKE wheat, chocolate and eggs?? How about ingredients like glucose-fructose syrup, emulsifier, stabiliser, lactic and fatty acid esters of glycerol, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, salt, etc. etc.. 

By my reckoning the snack must be at least 1/4 sugar - in fact , if you add together ingredients 2 and 3 (glucose-fructose syrup and sugar) you have a higher figure than the first listed ingredient, wheat flour. So to be honest, they would have to list the most abundant ingredient as sugar, not wheat flour.

And what about that lake of chocolate I was promised? Oh, that comes in at just above 1/20 (6%) of the total.

Anyway, I digress.... back to the screen:

End shot featuring a big bowl of fruit, more milk and smiling mum and child.

Is there a single truthful image in this ad?

I think not.

Actual ingredients:

(I apologise for the incorrect placing of these commas, clearly Tesco don't care about the finer points of punctuation on their website!)

Wheat Flour 23%,Glucose-Fructose Syrup ,Sugar ,Egg 12% ,Vegetable Oil ,Chocolate 6% (Cocoa Paste, Sugar, Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin)) ,Stabiliser (Glycerol) ,Skimmed Milk Powder 3.5% ,Whole Milk Powder 2.3% ,Raising Agents (Disodium Diphosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate) ,Milk Minerals ,Emulsifiers (Lactic and Fatty Acid Esters of Glycerol, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids) ,Salt ,Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder ,Flavourings)

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