Fixing up the planet ads from Innocent drinks banned over green messaging
Written by First Choice Radio on 23 February 2022
The smoothies can’t fix global warming…
Ads encouraging consumers to “get fixing up the planet” by choosing Innocent drinks have been banned for exaggerating the environmental benefit of the products.
The TV, YouTube and video on demand ads showed animated characters singing the lyrics: “We’re messing up the planet. We’re messing up real good,” against a backdrop of buildings and vehicles expelling pollutants, litter and dirty rivers.
An otter then produces a guitar and continues: “OK, let’s try this instead,” then sings: “Let’s get fixing up the planet. Fix it up real good,” as the background changes to a greener, brighter colour scheme with images of trees being planted.
The song concludes: “Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. Because there is no planet B. If we’re looking after nature she’ll be looking after me,” accompanied by images of people relaxing in a lush green environment, with many of them alongside bottles of Innocent drinks.
At the end of the ad, a voice-over states: “Innocent. Little drinks with big dreams for a healthier planet.”
Some 26 viewers, one of whom identified as representing the direct action group Plastics Rebellion, complained that the ads misled consumers by exaggerating the total environmental benefit of the products.
Innocent said the ads did not suggest that buying the products themselves would lead to a positive environmental impact, but were rather a statement about its wider environmental goals.
The company, which is owned by Coca-Cola, warned the ASA that upholding the complaints could stifle other brands and manufacturers from taking steps towards and communicating positive environmental actions they were taking.
Acknowledging that it used packaging made from single-use plastic, Innocent said their focus as a company was on using the minimum amount of plastic while also supporting recycling, and their ambition was to recycle 70% of their bottles by 2023.
They also said that they were working on developing more sustainable packaging.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said many consumers would interpret the overall presentation of the ads to mean that buying Innocent products was a choice which would have a positive environmental impact.
The watchdog noted that Innocent’s drinks bottles included non-recycled plastic and that the extraction of raw materials and subsequent processing of those materials in order to produce the bottle would have a negative impact on the environment.
It said: “Although we acknowledged that Innocent were undertaking various actions which were aimed at reducing the environmental impact of their products, that did not demonstrate that their products had a net positive environmental impact over their full lifecycles.
“Because the ads implied that purchasing Innocent products was a choice which would have a positive environmental impact when that was not the case, we concluded that the ads were misleading.”
Innocent said: “We’re disappointed to see the ruling from the ASA. Our advert was always intended to highlight important global environmental issues and the need for collective action to make a change. We transparently share more about the work that we do on sustainability on our website.
“As with any new guidelines, we’d like to work with the ASA and other brands to understand how to align to them to continue the conversation on these important topics.”
Plastics Rebellion said in a statement: “Innocent are being disingenuous about the dangers of plastic’s threat to human health and environment, as well as trivialising the horrific scale of the problem by repeating the mantra: ‘Reduce, re-use, recycle’.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub