A TV ad showed a mother preparing a burger for her daughter, who was talking about her day at school. The mother stacked lettuce, tomato and onion on top of the burger and sealed it with the top of the bun. She then passed it to her daughter, who had just said "My teacher said I was the best in the whole class." The girl, on receiving the burger, removed the lettuce, tomato and onion from the bun, putting it on the side of her plate, before putting the top of the bun on the burger. The voice-over stated "Love quarter-pounders. Love them cheaper" and showed shots of burgers. A clip of burgers being cooked was then shown whilst on-screen text stated "£2.49 pack of 4. Made by us with 100% BRITISH BEEF".
Eleven viewers challenged whether the ad condoned or encouraged poor nutritional habits, an unhealthy lifestyle or disparaged a good dietary practice, especially in children.
Clearcast responded on Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc's behalf. They said they viewed the advertisement and paid particular attention to BCAP Code rules 13.2 and 13.5. They said the mum built the burger and handed it to the daughter who carefully placed the salad on the side of her plate. They pointed out that the daughter did not look disdainfully at the salad items or make a face that implied she did not like them or would not eat them in the future. They said the salad was not discarded nor did the girl make any attempt to conceal the removal from her mum. Because of the way the girl removed the salad, which was to make eating her burger easier, they had concluded that it was perfectly feasible that she would return to it later.
The ASA considered viewers would interpret the ad to mean that the daughter was so eager to eat the burger on its own in the bun that she immediately removed the salad, choosing the option with less nutritional value. We considered that that impression was reinforced by the emphasis on "love" of burgers in the voice-over and the dialogue between the mother and daughter, which suggested the daughter was usually very well behaved. We noted the girl grabbed all the salad in her hand and dropped it on the side in a careless manner, before placing her hands around the bun, ready to eat and smiling, which we considered suggested she was not going to eat the salad later. We noted the BCAP Code stated ads must not disparage good dietary practice. Because we considered the ad placed an emphasis on the burger being the preferable option to the salad, we concluded it condoned poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle, especially in children, and that it disparaged good dietary practice.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 13.2 13.2 Advertisements must avoid anything likely to condone or encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle, especially in children. and 13.5 13.5 Comparisons between foods must not discourage the selection of options such as fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, which generally accepted dietary opinion recommends should form a greater part of the average diet. Advertisements must not disparage good dietary practice. No advertisement should suggest that a balanced and varied diet cannot provide adequate nutrients in general (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutritional claims).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc to ensure future ads did not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle, especially in children, and that they did not disparage good dietary practice.