Lucozade Sport drink advert banned after complaints

Lucozade bottles

An advertising campaign for the drink Lucozade Sport has been banned.

A TV ad and poster received 63 complaints over claims it "hydrates and fuels you better than water".

The drink's former makers, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), said that two health claims for this kind of drink, a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution, had been authorised by the European Union.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the claims were not accurately reflected in the adverts.

They have ruled the adverts can no longer appear in their current form.

The television advert showed two groups of men, one drinking water and the other Lucozade Sport, running on treadmills while being monitored by technicians.

A voiceover then said: "At the limits of your ability, you need to replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat, keep your body hydrated, give your body fuel.

"Lucozade Sport gives you the electrolytes and carbohydrates you need, hydrating you, fuelling you better than water."

The poster featured an image of a professional rugby player and stated: "Hydrates and fuels you better than water."

GSK, which sold Lucozade and Ribena to Japanese firm Suntory for £1.35bn last September, said the adverts represented the authorised claim "carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions enhance the absorption of water during physical exercise".

Lucozade bottle

The company also said it "strongly believed" that people would realise that Lucozade Sport provided calorific energy, mostly from carbohydrates, whereas water has none and could not therefore be said to provide "fuel" at all.

"Common sense dictated that the claim should be acceptable, because consumers were unlikely to misunderstand it," they added.

The ASA said the campaign did not make it clear that the benefits of the drink would only be got during prolonged endurance exercise.

They added: "Even if we had accepted that 'fuels' was an acceptable rewording of the authorised claim 'contributes to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise', we noted that that claim did not make any comparison with water, and we therefore considered that it would not have been acceptable for GSK to state that the product 'fuels ... better than water'."

One of the 63 complaints came from the Natural Hydration Council, a body which represents bottled water sellers.

Their general manager, Kinvara Carey, said: "We are pleased with the decision by the ASA to uphold our complaint regarding the high-profile Lucozade Sport advertising campaign.

"There is already much confusion over the role of sports drinks and for the majority of people participating in exercise and sporting activities, water is all that is needed for effective hydration."

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