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'Meat-less' burger ad ruled misleading

22 April 2020

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that a fast food radio commercial claiming that a new burger was meat-less was misleading.

The Burger King ad said: “Burger King’s new Rebel Whopper - 100% Whopper, 0% Beef”.

The complainant said it is misleading to say the plant-based burger is 0% beef when it is cooked on the same cooking surface as meat so will contain the fat/juices from a non-plant based food source.

The advertiser said the Rebel Whooper was not launched as a vegetarian burger and the intention was as an alternative for flexitarians. The product is cooked on the same grill as beef products which is made clear at the point of purchase.

The ASA’s complaints board upheld the complaint with the majority of the board feeling that consumers could be misled, and could consider that the burger was suitable for those who don’t eat meat, when it is cooked on the same grill as the meat products.

Babies on conveyor belt ‘confronting’

The ASA ruled that an ad that shows babies moving along a conveyor belt with every fourth baby pushed off the line by a mechanical arm to be confronting but not offensive.

The Spend My Super TV commercial said: “One in four Kiwi children grow up in poverty. They don’t choose what they’re born into. Give some or all of your superannuation to give every child a real chance.”

Twelve complainants were concerned the ad used shock tactics which were offensive and exploitative. Some were also concerned the ad was targeting superannuants who could be a vulnerable audience.

The advertising agency said the aim of the advertisement was to draw attention to the statistic of one in four Kiwi children being born in poverty.

The ASA said the statistic presented in the ad was not disputed, and although seeing it illustrated through the factory production line metaphor was confronting, it was not offensive. The board said given the target audience of people over 60 in higher socio-economic groups, more care could have been taken with placement but this did not meet the threshold to breach its standards.

Last updated on the 22nd April 2020