Wrigley’s TV ad angers banana industry

A television commercial promoting Wrigley’s Extra chewing gum is at the centre of outrage from Australia’s banana industry because of the ad’s depiction of the fruit as causing tooth decay.  

Horticulture Australia has lodged a compliant with the Advertising Standards Bureau to either have the ad withdrawn or amended.

The industry body said the TV ad painted bananas under a negative light, likening it to other food products such as doughnuts.

David Chenu, Horticulture Australia domestic marketing manager, said: “Bananas are one of the healthiest fresh food products available. The current Wrigley’s commercial suggests that the foods it depicts in its commercial – a banana is one and a donut another – are the cause of plaque which then leads to tooth decay.

“To make this connection is both misleading and irresponsible. It is misleading because bananas can be masticated fully and cleaned from the mouth far better and easier than most foods. It is irresponsible because the communication that bananas are bad for you is contrary to what well-regarded nutritional research says.”

Chenu added that it had contacted The Wrigley Company, owner of the chewing gum brand, to voice its concern, but is yet to receive a response.

The Extra Food Creatures campaign first aired in 2007.

Wrigley corporate communications director Catherine Pemberton said the campaign was not a commentary on the various foods featured in its ads, which also includes coffee, pizza, raspberries and sushi, but “it is merely a random representation of foods that people commonly consume”.

“These, and most other foods contain carbohydrates which deliver energy, but also leave a sugar residue on teeth which ultimately, if not removed, can lead to the formation of plaque acid,” she said.

“The act of chewing Extra sugar free gum after eating, as demonstrated in the TVC, is to help wash away the food residue and help neutralise the plaque acids left after consumption.”


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