The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has ordered Coca-Cola to publish corrections to several advertisements in which the company claimed the soda is not unhealthy and does not cause weight gain or tooth decay.
The Coca-Cola "Myth Busted" ads drew outrage from parent and health groups in Australia and prompted the ACCC to order Coca-Cola South Pacific to publish corrections in seven newspapers and on the Internet.
The advertisement was approved by the country's Advertising Standards Bureau.
The manager of lobby group The Parents Jury, Justine Hodge, said she was delighted with the ACCC’s decision.
"The original ad was clearly misleading," she said. "It conveyed an image of Coke not being an unhealthy product. We felt that Australian parents were being misled into think that Coke doesn’t make you fat, doesn’t rot your teeth and doesn’t contain large amounts of caffeine. It does and now these statements all found to be untrue."
Christopher Zinn, spokesman for the Australian Consumers’ Association also known as CHOICE, said Coca-Cola could consider itself fortunate that the matter was dealt with quickly as the ACCC will have greater powers to impose heavy fines for misleading ads next year.
“Coke have been left with faces as red as their familiar cans from this but are lucky they got busted before the new powers come in,” he said.
“The claims were so ludicrous you wonder how they could be doing these ads with a straight face,” he added.