Kellogg spanked over study showing kids who eat do better than those who don't

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It turns out that eating sugary cereal doesn't guarantee your kids will pay more attention.

The Federal Trade Commission announced the settlement of a case brought against Kellogg Company after it ran advertising claiming its frosted Mini-Wheats was "clinically shown to improve kids' attentiveness by nearly 20%."

There actually was a clinical study, the FTC said. But it showed that about half the kids who ate a breakfast with Mini-Wheats were any more attentive. One in nine, the FTC said, had an improvement of 20% or more. By the way, that's compared with kids who ate no breakfast at all. In other words, a piece of toast might also have done the trick.

So the feds accused Kellogg, the world's largest cereal maker, of running a deceptive national advertising campaign.


"We tell consumers that they should deal with trusted national brands," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement. "So it's especially important that America's leading companies are more 'attentive' to the truthfulness of their ads and don't exaggerate the results of tests or research. In the future, the Commission will certainly be more attentive to national advertisers."

Kellogg was unapologetic.

"Kellogg Company has a long history of responsible advertising," a spokeswoman told WalletPop. "We stand behind the validity of our clinical study, yet have adjusted our communication to incorporate FTC's guidance."

The proposed settlement says that Kellogg cannot make claims about "benefits to cognitive health, process, or function provided by Frosted Mini-Wheats or any morning food or snack food" unless they can be proven true.

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