ASA backs Glaxo energy shot TV ad

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Glaxosmithkline Caffeine

ASA backed the energy shot's alertness claims despite 86 complaints
ASA backed the energy shot's alertness claims despite 86 complaints
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has OK’d a television advert for a GlaxoSmithKline energy drink that claimed to boost alertness.

The advert for Lucozade Alert Plus – which contains 120mg of caffeine plus B vitamins in each 60ml shot – drew 86 complaints for implying the product could improve reaction times and help people avoid accidents.

But the ASA ruled in favour mainly because it said caffeine had been demonstrated in the scientific literature to boost attention and the Department for Transport (DfT).

“We noted the product contained 120mg of caffeine, and the advice from the DfT was that a caffeine drink was a useful short-term solution to driver tiredness,”​ the agency wrote.

“We therefore did not consider that by promoting a caffeine drink in the context of night time driving GlaxoSmithKline was being irresponsible.”

Sometimes you have to react fast

The ad showed a man at a petrol station drinking a caffeine drink before driving in treacherous conditions. A voiceover said: “Sometimes you have to react fast”​ as deer ran across the road, followed by animations showing the effect of the product on alertness and mental performance.

It continued with a voiceover stating: “New Lucozade Alert Plus with energy-releasing B vitamins and caffeine, it’s proven to boost mental performance. So when the time comes … you’re ready.”

It then ended with the car swerving to avoid the deer and the voiceover: “New Lucozade Alert Plus. Sharpen up in a shot.”

It can be seen here.

In its defence, Glaxo noted that previous complaints against other caffeine and glucose drinks in its portfolio had not been upheld and the ASA had noted that products containing 40mg of caffeine and 60mg of glucose could have a positive effect on mental performance.

Glaxo also pointed to the fact that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) had approved anti-tiredness medicines that contained less caffeine than Lucozade Alert Plus.

Clearcast, the agency that advises the ASA on some matters, said it had consulted a metabolic specialist who saw no issue with the advert.

Concluding the ASA said: “We did not consider the ad implied the drink would improve reaction times per se, but merely that the product could increase alertness and concentration in a situation where a driver might be tired. Because of that, we concluded the ads were not in breach of the codes.”

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