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Two Teen Girls Take on GlaxoSmithKline

This is one of the coolest David & Goliath stories I’ve heard of in a while. As part of a science experiment, two 14 year old girls from New Zealand set out to test the amount of vitamin C in a popular black currant drink. Ribena’s marketing campaign suggested that the black currants in Ribena syrup had four times the Vitamin C of oranges, but the teen girls discovered that the syrup actually had about ¼ the vitamin C of oranges, and that the ready to drink form of Ribena had no detectable Vitamin C content at all!

The Commerce Commission had pushed for a fine between $275,000 and $350,000 and corrective television advertising. Glaxosmithkline wanted a fine of about $60,000 and no corrective television advertising.

GSK has a worldwide turnover of more than $61 billion, second only to drug giant Pfizer.

Although it’s unclear what the ultimate fine will be, this high school science experiment led to ensuring honesty in advertising. A far cry from the usual volcano/dry ice project that most of us worked on!

And by the way, Ribena is quite delicious.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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