It was the early ‘90s when our paths first crossed.…
The ASA have scolded Maltesers and Jaffa Cakes for advertising that’s misleading. We might be the victims of false claims with regards to diet, but we’re also guilty of professionally fooling ourselves, says Stewart Who?
It is said that while people have high self esteem in some areas, they’ll have crippling low self esteem in others. You might be unhappy with you appearance but confident in the way you control your finances. The trick to healthy self esteem, they say, is to tackle those dark corners of your mind which are painful to excavate.
Inevitably, it’s hard work and much easier to leave certain parts of your being in utter chaos than to look at why you sustain areas of weakness. Advertising seeks to play on our insecurities and desires, so due to our sliding scale of self esteem, some penetrate like cactus pricks and others just wash over us.
The news that both Maltesers and Jaffa Cakes have both been slapped by the ASA proved to this chocolate monster that with regards to these products, I chose to remain stupid. Idiotic, in fact. Rather like many cosmetic products, we wish the claims were true…and so decide they must be.
Shockingly, t turns out that chocolate isn’t a healthy snack that will induce instant beauty and slimness. Sweetie peddlers Mars and McVitie’s were both criticised by the watchdog for TV ads implying that Maltesers were a low calorie snack and that Jaffa Cakes were low in fat.
One of the Maltesers adverts showed a pair of secretaries discussing whether or not the chocolate honeyball snack was a “naughty” enough.
In another advert, a voice-over stated “Maltesers. At less than 11 calories each, you’ll need new ways to be naughty”.
An Advertising Standards Agency spokesman said: “We concluded that the words ‘less than’ gave the misleading impression that a Malteser was low in energy.”
Maltesers contain 505 calories per 100g – a more relevant nutritional measure as pigs like myself are unlikely to be just eating the one Malteser. I mean how laughable is that concept? Not only will the entire bag get scoffed, but I’ll feel bereft and inexplicably depressed when there’s none left, leading to a frantic search through the cupboards for something else sweet. It’s at this point that one ends up chomping truly abominal like jam on Ryvita.
The watchdog also criticised a Jaffa Cakes advert that said each cake had “only one gram of fat”. Again, the ASA said this suggested the product was low in fat. Again, I’ve eaten entire packets, comforted by the fact that as with other things, “a cheeky gram never hurt anyone”. But, but, great big fat BUTT…it’s never just the one, is it?
Later in the night, you might find yourself emptying an ashtray and as the flip-top bin opens its mouth, you see the crushed Jaffa Cake box…and there’s s moment when you realise that the deed is done.
The advert might have misled, you may have managed to temporarily fool yourself, but you won’t trick your chubby-cheeked face. Then you close the bin’s revealing mouth and might draw a parallel between its unthinking appetite for garbage and…your own.
The question is, should the ASA be quibbling over this stuff? Per biscuit, per packet, per catering-sized skip, or should we take responsibility ourselves? It’s not like either advertiser told an enormous fib, they just didn’t flag up the bigger picture, which features a bigger, fatter you.
Most of the nutritional data you might want to know is featured on the side of the packet. Of course, there’s a fair few people, including myself, who’re baffled by simple maths and only experience exercise when running from the police or to the pub. That’s not the fault of McVities. That’s life.
First Published: HospitalClub.com, Nov. 08