The charity also claimed – in its complaint to the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the online video ad from 2011 suggested drinking Fanta would make kids more popular and confident.
The advert (you can watch it below) that triggered Sustain’s complaint to the regulator was titled ‘Fun, New 2011 Fanta Bounce’, and featured an animated female character shown lying on her bed, looking bored.
A male character then entered her bedroom and they drank Fanta together, before bouncing up and down on the bed, as did other Fanta-drinking characters in the street. On screen text stated: ‘MORE FANTA. LESS SERIOUS’.
Responding to the ASA regarding Sustain’s complaint, Beverage Services Limited (Coca-Cola Great Britain) said it did not market products to children under 12, and that the target audience for Fanta was 16 to 34 year olds.
None of the characters in the advert drank more than two mouthfuls of Fanta, the firm added (i.e. non-excessive consumption), while most did not hold or consume the drink.
All the advert suggested was that Fanta could contribute to the fun and enjoyment of an occasion, Coca-Cola Great Britain said.
The firm also said it did not believe that the advert condoned or encouraged poor nutritional habits among children, since characters were teenagers and older who were not consuming other food or drink.
Some characters were even driving (showing a link to an older target audience), the company said, while many were physically active, and those who did drank Fanta did so in moderation.
While the female character at the start of the advert seemed bored, Coca-Cola Great Britain said, it added that believed the advert simply encouraged her (in the ASA's words) to “get out, get active and enjoy herself”.
The ASA noted in its case adjudication today that characters in the advert appeared to be older teenagers and young adults, but said it considered it likely that under-16s ('children' for the purposes of its advertising code) would personally identify and aspire to be like the figures depicted.
Unhealthy lifestyle not condoned
Web resources presented alongside the advert – downloadable desktop backgrounds for computers and cell phones, ringtones and games for the latter – would also appeal to young teenagers, the ASA conceded.
Nonetheless, the regulator did not uphold Sustain’s complaints, noting that characters in the advert were physically active and did not consume Fanta to excess, while the broadcast did not ‘condone or encourage’ poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children.
Finally, although the girl in the bedroom looked bored until the male character arrived, the ASA said it believed viewers would link her mood change to the presence of a friend rather than Fanta drinking.
“We concluded the ad did not suggest that, by drinking Fanta, children would be more confident and popular,” the ASA said, concluding that advert had not breached its Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code.