May 7, 2007 / 6:07 AM / 12 years ago

Latest Ribena ad campaign Down Under: we're sorry

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The maker of Ribena has launched an advertising campaign apologizing for having misled consumers Down Under over the popular blackcurrant drink’s vitamin C content.

GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court in March to 15 charges of breaching fair trading laws, after two schoolgirls tested its claim that the blackcurrants in Ribena had four times the vitamin C of oranges, but found almost no traces of the vitamin in Ribena. GSK was fined NZ$227,500 ($167,500).

The firm said in a statement on Monday that it had launched a television and print campaign in Australia and New Zealand apologizing for stating an incorrect vitamin C content.

The firm also says sorry for claiming that blackcurrants contain four times the vitamin C of oranges, because it may have misled consumers into believing Ribena contained four times the level of vitamin C than in the same quantity of orange juice.

“The testing method we used to determine the level of vitamin C in the ready-to-drink Ribena products was unreliable but we were unaware of that at the time,” Australian managing director John Sayers said in a statement.

The firm said it planned to develop a new formulation for the ready-to-drink form of Ribena and introduce new testing methods.

“We know we’ve got a lot of work to do if we hope to rebuild consumer trust in this brand. From the moment we’ve known there was a problem, we’ve been working hard to fix it,” said Sayers.

Ribena, first made in the 1930s and distributed to British children during World War Two, is now sold in 22 countries.

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