NAD rules on Minute Maid brain claims

by Jeff Gelski
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NEW YORK – The Coca-Cola Co. may support the claim that its Minute Maid Enhanced Juice may "help nourish your brain," but the Atlanta-based company must quit broadcasting advertising claims that imply consumers will experience an immediate memory "boost" from the product, according to a ruling from the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus announced Oct. 27.

Each 8-oz serving of Minute Maid Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored 100% Juice Blend contains 50 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, along with 55 mg of choline and a substantial percentage of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 (10%), vitamin C (100%) and vitamin E (20%).

The NAD examined a range of studies on DHA and found the research supports the general proposition that consuming DHA has a beneficial impact on cognitive functioning, thus supporting the claim that the Minute Maid product may "help nourish your brain." The NAD also found more limited support in scientific evidence regarding choline, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E and glucose.

The claim of an immediate memory "boost" relates to a TV commercial in which a woman tells a man she thinks he is the father of one of her kids. The man answers, "Cancun, spring break, ’99." Then he drinks the enhanced juice product and answers, "Oh, my daughter is in your art class . . . Sister Mary Catherine."

The NAD ruled humor does not relieve an advertiser of its obligation to support claims conveyed in its advertising. It recommended the advertiser discontinue the commercial.

The Coca-Cola Co. said it disagreed with this ruling but added it would not appeal that portion of the NAD’s decision since the commercial already had run its course.

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