Kellogg settles F.T.C. charges over Mini-Wheats ads

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON – The Kellogg Co. has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that specific advertising claims for Frosted Mini-Wheats were false and violated federal law. According to the F.T.C. complaint, a Kellogg national advertising campaign claimed Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal clinically is shown to improve children’s attentiveness by nearly 20%. The campaign included TV, print and Internet advertising as well as product packaging.

The complaint alleges that, according to the clinical study referred to in the campaign, about half the children who ate Frosted Mini-Wheats showed any improvement in attentiveness while about one in nine improved by 20% or more.

The complaint also challenges a claim made in a television ad that a breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats clinically was shown to improve children’s attentiveness by nearly 20% when compared to children who ate no breakfast. The study showed children who ate Frosted Mini-Wheats for breakfast were on average under 11% better in attentiveness and relatively few were nearly 20% more attentive.

The F.T.C. plans to publish an announcement about the agreement in the Federal Register. It will be subject to public comment until May 19.

"We tell consumers that they should deal with trusted national brands," said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the F.T.C. "So it’s especially important that America’s leading companies are more attentive to the truthfulness of their ads and don’t exaggerate the results of tests or research. In the future, the commission will certainly be more attentive to national advertisers."

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