Bodum told to back up ad’s green claims

Bodum has successfully defended a coffee maker advertisement against two challenges by rival Nespresso – but Nespresso has had two further complaints over the same ad upheld.

Bodum told to back up ad's green claims

The magazine ad showed a pile of empty coffee cartridges with the text “make taste, not waste”, while text near a picture of Bodum’s French press coffee makers said “get green” and “The Bodum simple brewing method does not contaminate and pollute trash. It is preferred by baristas world-wide as it brings out the most authentic qualities of the coffee’s flavour and it conserves its aromas and essential oils. The greenest way to brew coffee according to Bon Appetit magazine, Slate magazine and”.

Challenged by Nespresso on the latter claim, Bodum admitted to the Advertising Standards Authority that substantiation based on magazine or website editorial might not be sufficient under the CAP Code for a superlative green claim. It therefore agreed not to repeat the claim in future without being able to back it up.

Nespresso was also successful in challenging the words “get green”, which it argued implied that the product did not have any detrimental effect on the environment. The ASA ruled that there was no robust evidence that a Bodum coffee maker was less environmentally damaging than an espresso capsule machine, and therefore concluded that the claim was misleading.

However, the ad watchdog disagreed with Nespresso that the two types of coffee making system could not be fairly compared. Nor did it uphold Nespresso’s complaint that the ad was denigratory to the Nespresso brand because it showed a pile of capsules crushed in a way which would not happen in normal use and, in combination with the headline claim, implied that Nespresso products were “rubbish”.

The ASA thought that the pile of used capsules merely underlined that they were a by-product of espresso systems and that such waste would not be produced using the Bodum products.

And it added: “While we understood that the capsules would not be crushed through normal use in the way depicted in the ad, we did not consider that the ad went as far as to suggest that Nespresso products were ‘rubbish’.”

The ASA told Bodum that the ad must not appear again in its current form, and to ensure that the company held robust evidence, taking into account the full life cycle of its product, for environmental claims in future.

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