39 consumers complained last year about the advert from Noble Foods (The Happy Egg Co), which also showed chickens jumping into sand pits to the famous movie theme.
After viewing a Channel 4 television news report last year on conditions at two of the Happy Egg Co's farms, 35 viewers challenged whether the advert misrepresented conditions experienced by chickens, while 7 said it misleadingly implied that the firm’s birds were free range.
A voiceover for the advert said: “At the Happy Egg Co we do things differently. We create the perfect environment for our free range hens to run, jump and play, because happy hens lay happy eggs and happy eggs are wonderfully tasty.”
A humourous depiction of life for a chicken...
The ASA said that, after reviewing company responses to complaints, and Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) comments on the news report that it “acknowledged viewers concerns that the news report contradicted the impression created by the advert”.
However, the ASA said it understood that the news report did not reflect conditions on all farms that supplied the Happy Egg Co, and according to the RSPCA did not explain that any suffering birds were already under veterinary supervision for a specific condition.
“We noted the Happy Egg Co had responded to the two compliance issues identified in the RSPCA's inspection of the sites in question,” said the ASA.
“Notwithstanding the concerns of viewers…we considered most viewers would see it to be a humorous depiction of the life of a Happy Egg Co chicken.
“Because of that, and because the Happy Egg Co sent evidence that showed they adhered to the RSPCA Freedom Food Scheme, used gold and platinum graded free-range farms only, and had invested in activity kits for their chickens, we concluded the ad was not misleading.”