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Cow and Gate Formula TV Ad

(56 Posts)
Kamagrian Thu 24-Jul-08 21:49:23

Hi everyone,

I know one of the other members here from another forum, and she thought this might be of interest to people here - so I'm just going to copy-and-paste what I wrote there! Hope that's OK. grin

Hope this finds everyone smiling.

Gill x


I have in my hands a letter which arrived this morning from the Advertising Standards Authority here in the UK, regarding the complaint I made about the Cow & Gate "Complete Care" advertisement featuring babies laughing with comments such as "Do I look like I have a bad tummy?" and so on. Basically the ad was clearly mocking research showing the relative risks of formula feeding as opposed to natural breastmilk.

The letter says that the complaint is ongoing, but that due to a previous ongoing investigation into C&G's health claims in advertisements, this aspect of the complaints would not be looked into. This is because any ruling on their previous claims will "set a precedent for future ads" and will hence sort of be an automatic ruling on the health claims covered in the one I shouted about.

Apparently 53 of us complained, including Baby Milk Action and some healthcare professionals - I thought there'd be far more! Anyway, the points they WILL be investigating are complaints that the ad was (and I quote):

- offensive
- harmful because it could discourage mothers from breastfeeding
- A number of other complainants challenged whether the ad made clear that it advertised follow-on formula for babies aged upwards of six months.

Anyways, thought I'd update those of you who were also hopping mad at this ridiculously misleading advertisement. I'll let you know (if you ARE interested) when they inform me of the outcome, though apparently both the ASA and C&G are taking legal advice, so this might take some time!

TinkerBellesMum Thu 24-Jul-08 22:53:42

Let's hope something comes of it. I wish I had made more noise about it, but I'm glad people have and they're taking it seriously.

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 24-Jul-08 22:58:19

Thank you for sharing that smile

zwiggy Thu 24-Jul-08 23:03:00

I find that ad offensive, and along the same lines, the ASA banned a marmite ad that showed a woman breastfeeding - discreetly in her own home, for a brief moment! on the grounds that it was distasteful and would cause offence!! wtf

Kamagrian Fri 25-Jul-08 01:03:46

They banned a Marmite ad because of breastfeeding and they allow commercials from C&G and SMA to run despite the Milk Code???

That just sucks, quite frankly. And they wonder why the breastfeeding uptake and maintenance rates in this country are so bad??? angry

On a more amusing note, I can think of far better reasons for banning the advertising of Marmite. Like the fact that it's horrid. wink Sorry, bit controversial this evening, given strong feelings about Marmite....

Gill x

thumbwitch Fri 25-Jul-08 01:09:36

thanks for posting that, good to know something is happening about it.

StealthPolarBear Fri 25-Jul-08 07:47:13

thanks for posting that
am a bit angry they're not bothered about the fact it is mocking the health research, as you say
also angry about the marmite comment, ever tried it under cheese on toast? wink

MrsJamin Fri 25-Jul-08 07:55:15

I was one of the 53 and got the letter yesterday V glad that they are taking this seriously - would love to see the rules changed so they cannot advertise.
(Funny you should mention marmite, my hands stink of it, I hate it, my DS does not unfortunately!)

misscathcart Fri 25-Jul-08 07:57:04

I haven't seen that ad - has it been pulled?
thanks for sharing that. It will be interesting to see the outcome...

MrsJamin Fri 25-Jul-08 08:01:14

this is the ad

TinkerBellesMum Fri 25-Jul-08 08:58:36

Marmite ad. It is gross though!

mamadiva Fri 25-Jul-08 09:06:18

My DS loves this advert LOL don't ban it! He just sits in stitches at it!

I live in Scotland and we have BF ads too so why did they pull the marmite ad? Seems a bit daft when they openly show BF ads anyway! Personally I don't have a problem with them advertising formula IF they were more truthfuol about the product and less demeaning to BFing. If they didn't say things like helps to support natural immune system when you stop BFing I wouldn't mind them but that's just MO.

mamadiva Fri 25-Jul-08 09:09:01

LMFAO. Haven't seen that Marmite ad before! That is classic in MO. They should defo bring that back. Have they banned the skittles ad too. Sorry totally hijacked thread there but haven't seen it for ages. Everytime it comes on I piss myself at it.

fedupandisolated Fri 25-Jul-08 09:17:02

Thank God - I made a complaint about this too but have not had a reply yet.
I am not anti-bottlefeeidng - in fact I bottlefed my DS from 2 weeks old. However, I AM anti the crappy mis-information given out by these companies.

I went to the various websites when I was deciding which formula to use - do you know what I found out - bloody nothing - all made similar fantastical claims. In the end I went with Farleys because I was told it had a lower lactose content (have no idea whether or not this is true).

I'm a HV and I still have no idea if one formula is better than another. Partly because there is a ban on babymilk companies coming into the clinic but also because when they do advertise in the HV journal they all do the same "blind em with science" adverts.

But I digress......

TinkerBellesMum Fri 25-Jul-08 09:25:42

mamadiva, that's never going to happen though. Think of any advert for anything, are they honest with you? Do they tell you which of their competitors is better? Do they tell you that you can do it without a product at all?

Advertising of formula won't ever work. There needs to be a thorough, independent investigation and a Which type report done AND it needs to be done annually to cover companies changing recipes and introducing new lines. It won't happen.

mamadiva Fri 25-Jul-08 09:40:21

I just think they should ban these statements not the ads because as fedup says formula companies aren't allowed to give out info in clinics and as far as I know aren't allowed leaflets or adverts either, am I right? I don't have a problem with advertising brands without all the lies becuse how else are FFing mothers supposed to know about it all they are not allowed any access to information and MW aren't very helpful on the front either. Well in my experience.

TinkerBellesMum Fri 25-Jul-08 09:45:58

But all ads are full of lies, especially when they have competition. How do you do an advert without them?

Pruners Fri 25-Jul-08 10:11:16

Message withdrawn

WilfSell Fri 25-Jul-08 10:14:49

Thanks for this - I haven't had a reply from them angry and I complained.

But shock that only 53 people complained...! Bloody hell.

tiktok Fri 25-Jul-08 10:28:08

mamadiva - you say "they are not allowed any access to information"....this is just not true. The problem is there is no comprehensive independent comparative information about formula - all that exists is the ads and as we have agreed here, they don't tell you anything much at all, all making broadly the same claims as each other.

As Tink says, that's what advertising does.

zwiggy Fri 25-Jul-08 11:10:44

that marmite ad is gross, I hadn't seen it before, just heard about it. Why does she look so bad? I bf and I look quite normal, and I haven't slept for more than 2 hours for six months.

anyway, TV is getting so irresponsible, there is not much life enhancing on it. I might just think about becoming a hard core crank and getting rid of it entirely.

Why don't they make programmes about good parenting instead of all those bloody cookery programmes. I've no interest in making a bloody creme brulee, or making a new look outfit look like Balenciaga, (yeah right).

Those babies on the formula ad are quite ugly though aren't they?

mamadiva Fri 25-Jul-08 11:16:56

shock zwiggy

You don't call other people's children ugly. How do you know one of their mothers isn't on here just now?

Okay I put that wrong I meant to say it's not easy for them to get access to information. I tried and tried when I was pregnant to find proper information about what type of formula I was going to use and I couldn't find much at all. Ended up basing it on which one was recommended by friends.

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 25-Jul-08 11:17:15

This might be a digression. But.
I don't use formula anymore, I used the follow on milks for a year or so. But after all the threads on here recently I was having a look on at the Heinze Nurture tubs. Compared it to an SMA tub. SMA have changed their packaging so that their milks are now 0-12m and 12m+.
The cynical part of my brain thinks that is so they will be able to advertise the 0-12m on tv etc, but use older babies. This will enable them to advertise their first infant milk... but of course they will say they are only advertising it to mothers of 6m+ babies and not breaking any codes, blah blah.

Had anyone else noticed this?

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 25-Jul-08 11:21:10

Just had a look at the marmite link. I thought it was a really good ad till it got to the puking bit. I have to say it turned my stomach so I wouldn't have liked to see it on my tv.
But then I have to go out of the room when the puking woman sketch comes on Little Britain.
The rest of the ad was good though - clearly demonstrating that bfing leaves you will free hands! I think its the puking bit that was labelled as offensive not the bf bit.

mamadiva Fri 25-Jul-08 11:25:07

I hadn't noticed that about the SMA tubs flibberty. You may have a point though. I think the SMA ads are the worst at the moment.

The ad where it's the dad doing the voice over and the someone is feeding a baby who is clearly about 3/4 months old on couch in arms yet it's supposed to be for follow on milk?!? hmm

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