Coca-Cola hit over misleading ad

Kyodo

The government has asked Coca-Cola (Japan) Co. to amend a television commercial that could mislead consumers that a new drink line had been certified as a health food product, government and company sources said Wednesday.

Food products that pass strict tests for health benefits are authorized as “tokutei hokenyo shokuhin” (food for specialized health use), or “tokuho.”

Coca-Cola (Japan) launched its Canada Dry Ginger Ale FIBER8000 without the “tokuho” authorization on April 22 and released the TV commercial on April 24 that described the launch as “tokuhou,” meaning a special report.

The Consumer Affairs Agency instructed Coca-Cola in late April to improve the commercial, warning that consumers could misinterpret the product as “tokuho” food. The commercial ended May 7.

A Coca-Cola official claimed the commercial ended as originally planned. “But we would like to faithfully accept the fact that some misunderstood the commercial,” the official said.