Truvia is a new sweetener that’s derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. The ad shows a strawberry with something that looks like sugar on it. It’s effective because it gets your attention.
Here’s the headline:
Our new sweetener is more than splendid, it’s natural.
Obviously, the use of the word splendid is a shot at Splenda, a competing no-calorie sweetener. They use the word again in the copy.
While natural products are usually preferable to synthetic ones, when we run into the word natural in an ad, a red flag should go up. We already know that many advertisers have problems telling the truth. And just because a product is natural doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Belladonna, castor beans, and poisonous mushrooms are examples of things that are natural—and toxic.
I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with Truvia—they’ve been using it in Japan for about 30 years with no ill-effects that we know of. After all, as the copy says, “it’s rooted in goodness and sunshine.” There can’t be anything wrong with that, right?
By Marc Librescu