The UK-based confectionary company Mars has been told to remove the main claims from its advertising for the new AquaDrops range after they were rejected today by the Advertising Standards Authority as misleading.

When AquaDrops was launched earlier this year, Mars claimed to have created a new category of 'hydrating sweet' and headlined its advertising with the slogan "Instant Hydration".

However, drinks consultancy Zenith International found this too hard to swallow, complaining that the advertising was misleading and irresponsible.

"A solid sweet cannot provide hydration," said Zenith chairman Richard Hall.  "Even sucking a stone in the desert causes the mouth to salivate.  Such a respected company giving such a false impression could lead some consumers to delay proper hydration when they need it most."

Zenith's complaint was followed by similar concerns from the Natural Mineral Water Association as well as members of the public.

Last year Zenith won a ruling against misleading statements by Vauxhall Motors in a national campaign comparing the cost of fuel with water.  "Consumer trust in brands is already under pressure and it really is time these big companies had more effective internal checks to avoid campaigns that have to be challenged and then retracted," Hall said.