Kerrygold butter ads came under the ASA cosh recently. With 2% salt, was it really right to say that there was ‘Nothing added, nothing taken away’?
Who: The Kerrygold Co Limited
Where: The Advertising Standards Authority
When: June 2004
An objection was made to an advertisement for Kerrygold butter in a national press colour supplement that was headed "100% pure." The advertisement showed a tub of butter between two plates of crumpets with a halo above the tub. At the bottom the ad stated "Nothing added, nothing taken away. Just 100% pure spreadable butter."
The complaint was that the "Nothing added" claim was misleading on account of the fact that the product contained 2% salt.
In its defence Kerrygold argued that the Food Labelling Regulations defined butter as containing a minimum 80% butter fat, maximum 16% moisture, 2% milk solids and allowed for a maximum of 2% salt. As the Kerrygold product was within these guidelines the advertisers said that they felt justified in stating "Nothing added."
The ASA took advice from the Food Standards Agency. It acknowledged what the Food Labelling Regulations said, but noted that there were unsalted butter products available. The verdict had to be therefore that for the simple reason that salt was added to the product, the claim "Nothing added" was misleading. The advertisers were advised to remove the claim.
Why this matters:
The law is one thing, but the Code is another. Whether the "100% pure" claim would have stood without the use of the phrase 'nothing added, nothing taken away' is a separate question, but this verdict underlines that in cases like this the ASA will take a plain man's view of the natural and ordinary meaning of advertising claims and will not get bogged down in the minutiae of legal regulations of which the man in the street is unlikely to be aware.