'Ice cream makes u happy' ad deemed ok after successful appeal to Advertising Standards Authority

The advertiser argued the phrase was "hyperbolic".
The advertiser argued the phrase was "hyperbolic". Photo credit: Getty

A decision banning an advertisement with the phrase "ice cream makes you u happy" has been overturned by the Advertising Standards Complaints Appeal Board.

The ad - for Streets ice cream - was initially ordered to be taken down after someone complained it breached rules stipulating that advertising must not "undermine the health and well-being of individuals".

Given New Zealand's problems with obesity and mental health issues, the complainant said, the ad was "extremely irresponsible".

"The complainant said food should not be advertised as a way to improve people's mood, given that ice cream is high in fat and sugar," the complaints board said.

"The complainant was concerned about the impact of the advertisement on children and well as on their parents."

The advertisement, which was placed on the outside wall of Tui Tui Crescent Foodmarket in Whangarei, showed three types of Streets ice creams - Paddle Pop, Magnum and Splice - beside the slogan "ice cream makes u happy".

Initially, in a split decision, the Advertising Standards Complaints Board ruled in favour of the complainant.

However, that decision was reversed in a ruling released on Monday by the Advertising Standards Complaints Appeal Board.

The original decision caused controversy at the time it was announced, with National MP Judith Collins telling The AM Show it was "insane".

"This is a really stupid job and they should leave people alone," Collins said.

"It is insane, what is wrong with the world? People need to be happy about things."

According to the Appeal Board's decision, the advertiser argued that the phrase "ice cream makes you happy" was "hyperbolic and did not meet the threshold to undermine health and well-being".

That claim was challenged by the complainant who referenced studies regarding the impact of advertising on consumer behaviour, the board said.

In its ruling, the Appeal Board found the advertisement was not in breach of the Advertising Standards Code, as the phrase was "puffery".

"The Appeal Board confirmed the advertisement, which it agreed showed individual serving sizes of a treat food and used obvious puffery, did not undermine an individual’s health and well-being."

The Streets ice cream brand is owned by Unilever Australasia.