Lipton Ice Tea and Aqua Pura water ads banned over recycled bottle claims

·3 min read

Ads for Lipton Ice Tea and Aqua Pura water have been banned for misleadingly claiming that the bottles were made from 100% recycled materials.

A poster for Lipton Ice Tea seen on a bus shelter in August read: “Deliciously refreshing, 100% recycled*.” The asterisk linked to small text at the bottom of the poster that stated: “Bottle made from recycled plastic, excludes cap and label.”

One person complained that the claim “100% recycled” misleadingly implied that all of the Lipton bottle was made from 100% recycled plastic.

Pepsi Lipton said the general understanding of consumers was that bottle caps and labels were not generally made of recycled materials but it included a qualification in case some assumed the headline claim related to the entire product.

Lipton Ice Tea Daybreakers event
DJ Norman Jay performs at a Lipton Ice Tea Daybreakers free event in London (John Phillips/PA)

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said consumers would understand the “100% recycled” claim to apply to all components of the bottle.

It said: “Because the overall impression of the ad was that all components of the bottle were made entirely from recycled materials when that was not the case, we concluded that the claim ‘100% recycled’ was misleading.

Separately, a TV ad for Aqua Pura water, also seen in August, featured a voice-over saying: “Nothing purer, it’s nature friendly we assure you. Crush it down, take it back, we’ll make plenty more with that.”

Text on the screen read: “100% recycled and recyclable bottle with eco-friendly cap*.” The asterisk linked to text that said “*Relates to 500ml bottles only”.

The ASA said it understood that the cap and label were not made from recycled material.

It said: “Because viewers would understand the claim to mean that all elements of the bottle were made entirely from recycled materials and that was not the case, we concluded the claim ‘100% recycled … bottle’ had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading.”

The ASA also noted that the extraction of raw materials and subsequent processing of those materials in order to produce the plastic for the cap had a negative impact on the environment.

It said: “Because we had not seen evidence for the full lifecycle of the cap and because the cap was made from a material that was inherently harmful to the environment, we considered the claim ‘eco-friendly cap’ overstated the environmental benefit of the cap and was therefore misleading.

It added: “Because we had not seen evidence that demonstrated the Aqua Pura brand had a positive impact on the environment, nor had we seen evidence for the full lifecycle of the products, and because parts of the products were made from a material that was inherently harmful to the environment, we considered the claim ‘nature friendly’ overstated the environmental benefit of the brand and products and was therefore misleading.”

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again.

A Pepsi Lipton International spokeswoman said: “We did not intend to mislead anyone with this ad, we were simply celebrating that the plastic bottle is now made from 100% recycled PET.

“For complete transparency, we added a note on the ad itself to clarify that it did not include the label and cap. We believed that to be clear and are sorry to hear that anyone may have felt misled.”

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