Ad spend Australia: $35 million

Sports: Uncle Toby’s was once Australia’s best-known ‘sports’ brand, thanks to its long-running iron-man series. It currently sponsors the Royal Lifesaving Society’s Big Splash Swimathon and the Australian Institute of Sport’s Olympic program for 2012.

Stars: Uncle Toby’s uses Olympic swimmers, Grant Hackett, Emily Seebohm, Cate Campbell and Eamon Sullivan, as brand ambassadors or ‘champions’. It previously paid Kieren Perkins and Ian Thorpe to endorse the brand.

Targeting kids: Uncle Toby’s ‘champions’, led by Grant Hackett, are paid to visit schools and swim schools. Uncle Toby’s also brands Swim Kids. Uncle Toby’s Roll-Ups sponsored the Giant Slide at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show in 2009.

The ads: Grant Hackett did these ads for Uncle Toby’s muesli bars in 2008.

Food Facts: Uncle Toby’s has a range of (mainly) healthy cereals and (sometimes) sugar-filled snacks. Its ‘real fruit’ Roll-Ups contain 1/3 sugar, plus hydrogenated canola oil. Its Le Snak biscuits are 27% fat, half of it saturated.

Expert Verdict: Uncle Toby’s website says: “Dieticians at the AIS consider quality wholegrain breakfast cereals to be an extremely useful and important food for athletes.” But as for Roll-Ups, Choice Food For Kids says: ‘A piece of genuinely real fruit (such as an apple) is a much healthier option. It won’t stick to your child’s teeth and it will leave them with … fewer fat-forming kilojoules and no trans fats.’

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey