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Red Bull ‘4pm Finish’ tube ad banned over implied health claims

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A Red Bull advertising campaign has been banned for suggesting the energy drink could increase focus and concentration.

The poster, seen on the London Underground on 11 September, implied Red Bull could help workers finish their work by 4pm.

It stated: “The secret to finishing early… Because to leap every hurdle a hectic day brings, you just need to know: Red Bull gives you wings… For a flying 4pm finish…”

The Advertising Standards Authority said it was upholding a complaint from a reader and while the advert was light-hearted, it made health claims that are against European Union rules.

The watchdog said: “While we understood that the ad was intended to be part of a marketing initiative aimed at encouraging consumers to improve their productivity and leave at 4pm on a specific day, we considered that the penultimate line of the poem, ‘to leap every hurdle a hectic day brings’, implied that Red Bull could help improve consumers’ mental focus, concentration and energy levels, and therefore increase productivity.”

Red Bull said the ad promoted the 4pm Finish “consumer initiative”, which encouraged workers to leave one hour early on Friday 14 September.

It said the ad did not suggest the drink delivered a health benefit, made people better at doing their job through increased concentration or focus, or had any health benefit at all.

The ASA warned Red Bull that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

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