I recently came across this article on The Guardian and wanted to share it because it is so fantastic that we believe some of the below claims that are often created by marketers! Have you come across any food claims like the below? Did you fall into the trap and believe any of these claims?
Fizzy drinks might now be considered the root of all evil, but when Coca-Cola was created by American pharmacist John Pemberton in the late 19th century, it was said to cure morphine addiction, dyspepsia, and headaches – even impotence. Cola, wrote Pemberton, was “a most wonderful invigorator of sexual organs”. Adverts described it as the “ideal brain tonic”. It is fairly well-known now, of course, that drinkers may have felt a certain buzz, as the cola leaf used in early versions yielded traces of cocaine, which weren’t eliminated until the turn of the century.
When this famous ad was introduced in 1931, it was reported that enjoying a pint of stout a day promoted strength, aided digestion and relieved sleeplessness. Since Guinness contains iron, it was fed to post-operative patients, blood donors and, on occasion, pregnant women. In fact, while Guinness is high in flavonoids, which can reduce the risk of heart attack from blood clotting, the iron content is relatively low. You’d have to drink a reported three pints to get the same amount provided by an egg yolk.
Often wrongly attributed to racing commentator and ad man Murray Walker, the original “A Mars a day …” slogan was first used in the UK in 1960, appearing in print well into the 90s. With 229 calories and 30.4g of sugar a bar, it is hard to imagine the ad getting past health authorities today. A modified version of the slogan – “Work, rest, play” – was introduced in 2008.
In the 50s, America’s Sugar Association took out a series of ads arguing that sugar could help dieters lose weight. How? By sating the appetite “faster than any other food” and keeping diners “satisfied on less”. Today’s research suggests precisely the opposite: in the form of fructose, sugar may actually stimulate the appetite.
Eggs, chicken, salmon – all fantastic sources of protein. But a Big Mac, milkshake and fries? Yes, according to this Australian ad, apparently from the 80s. A similar campaign claimed that “not only are McDonald’s meals good to eat, they’re good for you”. Judging by this advice given to the company’s own employees late last year, their definition of “good for you” has changed somewhat.
Want to live longer? Then buy some pomegranate juice. That appeared to be the implication of POM Wonderful’s notorious ‘Cheat Death’ campaign. The Advertising Standards Authority duly slapped it down.
Today, you can buy “low-calorie” Skinny Water at supermarkets – a confusing prospect for those of us who thought all water was calorie-free– and, until a few years ago, sugar-laden breakfast cereals were being sold as a way to improve attentiveness and bolster the immune system. All of which goes to show that miracle claims are far from a thing of the past.