GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been caught in a shocking case of misleading advertising. GSK makes a juice drink called Ribena. The drink is popular in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.
Ribena has long been pushed as a "health" food for children. For years it has been advertised as being rich in Vitamin C. Two popular tag lines are "the unique Ribena Syrup taste with loads of vitamin C" and "The blackcurrants in Ribena have four times the vitamin C of oranges".
Incredibly - the product actually has no detectable Vitamin C - and GSK have been telling lies for over 4 years.
This amazing deception was uncovered by two NZ schoolgirls who, as part of a school project, decided to test Ribena for Vitamin C content. They couldn't find any Vitamin C, and were brushed off by GSK. The girls persevered and eventually their research made it to New Zealand's commerce commission who fined GSK NZ$217,000 (US$ 155,000).
From the NZ Herald editorial:
Somebody in Ribena's marketing must have imagined they were very clever. They would carefully cite the vitamin content of blackcurrants but not of the drink. Now that the deception has been discovered they have succeeded not only in exposing the complete absence of vitamins in the concoction but also, it seems to follow, an absence of blackcurrants. Whatever is in the carton besides dissolved sugar and flavoured water it is not something the makers want to promote.
This wasn't a mistake. It was a deliberate and calculated deception.
Now how often we go by the ads shown by big companies about the superiority of there products.We need to be doubly sure?