Truth In Advertising BUS408

Kellogg Frosted Mini-Wheats & Rice Krispies

Most parents would agree that the advertisements on TV and the on the cereal boxes are eye catching and appealing to most any young child.  Now add to that the claim that by eating the cereal you can improve your health.  What parent wouldn’t want to boost their child’s immunity or improve their child’s attentiveness, especially in school?  Of course, what parent wouldn’t be extremely angry and upset if they found out that what they have been feeding their child really isn’t all it is cut-out to be.

In 2009 the FTC came to an agreement with Kellogg barring them from claiming benefits to cognitive health from any cereal, morning food, or snack food unless it was true and substantiated. Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats was claiming to improve children’s attentiveness by 20%.   Less than a year later, in 2010 the FTC required Kellogg Rice Krispies began an advertising campaign claiming that their cereal improved a child’s immunity with 25% daily value of antioxidants and nutrients – Vitamin A, B, C, and E.

The FTC now prohibits Kellogg from claiming any health benefit unless it is backed by scientific evidence and not misleading.  Shouldn’t this “ruling” be true for ALL products, food and non-food, tangible and non-tangible items?

I believe that Kellogg has produced some ground-breaking ideas such as being the first food company to hire a dietician and producing K-rations during WWII (“Our best days” 2011), but Kellogg like many other National Food Chains, Fast Food Restaurants, grasp at straws with some of their advertising.

This is an example where “ethical business conduct” is clearly not illustrated.  Kellogg is a household name to many families in America (and worldwide in over 180 countries).  The Slogans “They taste Great” with Tony the Tiger, the colorful little circles and Toucan Sam, the cute little elves and Rice Krispies, Snap Crackle Pop, are all attention getters.  To mislead parents (and children) into believing that they are feeding their child something that isn’t all it’s cut out to be, is unethical in every sense of the word.

Even though this particular advertising situation does not present any connection with sex or money with the product or service, but it might as well, instead Kellogg is preying on innocent young children and their parents.


The advertising that Kellogg was presenting to the consumer on the cereal box and TV ads contained false information – it was based on lies.  The FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz stated “We expect more from a great American company than making dubious claims – not once, but twice – that its cereals improve children’s health.  Next time, Kellogg needs to stop and think twice about the claims it’s making before rolling out a new ad campaign, so parents can make the best choices for their children” (Weinmann & Bhasin, 2011).



Katz, M. J. (2010, June 30). Ftc investigation of ad claims that rice krispies benefits children’s immunity leads to stronger order against kellogg. Retrieved from


Our best days are yours. (2011). Retrieved from


Weinmann, K., & Bhasin, K. (2011, September 16). 14 false advertising scandals that cost brands millions . Retrieved from :