Today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rejected a complaint from the Real Bread Campaign that the Hovis 'Rolls' television advertisement had breached the TV Advertising Standards Code* by misleading consumers. The Campaign believes that in doing so, the ASA is guilty of a failure of duty to the public and now calls on consumers to take action.
The ruling comes despite a Hovis spokesperson recently having admitted: '…we were surprised at how may misconceptions we had. We believed our product was better than it actually was.' The Campaign is urging people who feel that the decision is wrong to contact the ASA to demand that it reconsiders its ruling (case A09-102028) and Hovis to insist it withdraws all advertising using the slogan.
Real Bread Campaign working party chair Iain Loe said:
'We are shocked and saddened by this decision. How can Hovis still be “as good today as it's always been” when 40% of the brand's income now comes from additive laden white loaves? It seems to us that the ASA has chosen to ignore the facts and let Hovis mislead the public into thinking it still produces Real Bread by hand.'
In a four page letter to the ASA, the Campaign outlined the ways in which it felt the advert was misleading. These included:
- The imagery inferred that Hovis rolls are handmade by a craft baker rather than in an automated industrial plant
- The Hovis range now includes products adulterated with permitted additives and legally undeclared processing aids and even the recipe of the 'original' Hovis wheatgerm loaf is not the same as it once was
- White loaves now comprise 40% of Hovis sales, thereby reducing the overall healthiness of the product range
- Hovis' current centralised production system requires its products to be transported over greater distances to retail outlets and then on to the customer
- The system has also contributed to the decline of neighbourhood bakeries, thereby depriving many local communities of a valuable asset and opportunities for employment in this skilled craft
- Hovis is unable to deny that it is using palm oil from unsustainable sources, such as cleared rainforests
Although Hovis dropped 'Rolls' from its website a few weeks ahead of the publication of the ASA ruling, its predecessor 'Go On, Lad', which employs the same slogan and similar craft baker imagery (and that Hovis uses in school teaching packs) is still live.
The full complaint, the ASA response and how people can take action can be found at: www.sustainweb.org/realbread/hovis_advertising
The Real Bread Campaign is a not-for-profit initiative, co-ordinated by the UK charity Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. Its aims are to encourage and support the increased production and consumption of Real Bread in Britain.
For more information, please contact Chris Young or Richard Watts at the Real Bread Campaign on: email@example.com or 0203 5596 777.
Notes to editors
*The CAP (broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 5.1.1
Although 'Rolls' was dropped sometime between 21st and 23rd November, its predecessor 'Go on, Lad' can still be viewed online at: http://www.hovisbakery.co.uk/our-ads/
Contact details for the ASA: Advertising Standards Authority, Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn, London WC1V 6QT
Contact details for Hovis: The Hovis Team, Premier Foods, Hovis Court, PO Box 52769, Alma Road, Windsor SL4 3HD
16 Dec 2009
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