Hershey told to change candy ads

by Jeff Gelski
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NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division has recommended The Hershey Co. modify advertising for its Brookside chocolate-covered candies in a way that will ensure consumers understand the products are made with fruit flavors rather than pieces of fruit.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus administers the National Advertising Division. Mars, Inc., McLean, Va., had challenged the product packaging and television advertising for the candies.

Claims at issue included: Brookside dark chocolate acai with blueberry, Brookside dark chocolate goji with raspberry, Brookside dark chocolate pomegranate, smooth dark chocolate covered real fruit juice pieces, and national source of flavonol antioxidants.

The Hershey Co., Hershey, Pa., already has revised its packaging to omit the mention of flavanols and to add the word “flavor” to the end of each product name, such as dark chocolate goji with raspberry flavor. The N.A.D. acknowledged that generally consumers who are told a product is flavored with a particular fruit do not think the product necessarily contains a piece of that fruit.

The N.A.D. still had issues with the layout and font sizes in the revised packaging. The name of the fruit appeared on its own line in larger font than the word flavors. The N.A.D. recommended further modification to make it clear the fruit is a flavor and not pieces of a fruit.

The Hershey Co. said while it “disagrees with N.A.D.’s assessment of the layout of the product name, Hershey supports industry self-regulation and will take N.A.D.’s recommendation into account.”

The N.A.D. also recommended The Hershey Co. discontinue or modify a television commercial in which chefs chop chocolate and prepare berries and pomegranates. While the voiceover “flavored with a blend of juice concentrates and fruit flavors” appears in the commercial, the N.A.D. said the visual cues draw viewers’ attention away from the voiceover.

The Hershey Co. said the television advertisement ran its course in 2013 and the company will take the N.A.D.’s concerns into account with respect to any new version.
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