Adopting a more humorous approach to marketing could help functional foods companies get around tough new health claims regulations, experts have suggested.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently rejected a complaint about a poster advertising Nestlé's Little Notions Cheesecake on the grounds that its claims were so ridiculous even the most credulous consumer would not take them seriously.
The ad featured a girl saying: "Lemon Cheesecake's made with cheese. Cheese is full of calcium. Calcium makes bones strong. If I don't eat cheesecake, I'll fall over."
Consumers, concluded the ASA, were "unlikely to infer that the girl's musings were literal health claims for the product"
The moral of the ruling appeared to be that the more absurd the claim, the less likely it was to be scrutinised, said one industry consultant.
Dorothy MacKenzie, director of international brand agency Dragon Brands, added: "Even if you are saying something preposterous, you can still get a subtle message across.
"But it's dangerous territory to go down and could undermine the seriousness of your brand."