Heinz ‘Can Song’ ad banned over safety concerns

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

The ASA has ruled that Heinz's 'Can Song' ad promoted unsafe practices
The ASA has ruled that Heinz's 'Can Song' ad promoted unsafe practices

Related tags: Safety, Advertising, Asa

A Heinz Beanz ad has been pulled from television screens, after it was judged to encourage behaviour that was dangerous and unsafe by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The advert portrayed children, teenagers and adults using empty tins of baked beans to drum out the rhythm of a song, before asking viewers to learn the song by visiting the Heinz Facebook page. You can watch the ad at the bottom of the page.

The ASA received three complaints which claimed the ad encouraged unsafe practice, claiming that viewers emulating the song could cut themselves on the sharp edges of an empty can.

It also received six complaints which suggested the ad featured behaviour dangerous for children to copy.

Heinz defended the ad, saying the it only showed performers tapping on the bottom and sides of an empty can and never placing their hands inside it.

Safely prepare the can

The company also pointed out the directions at the end of the ad for consumers to visit a Facebook page to learn how to perform the “Can Song”​, which featured instructions on how to safely prepare a can to play on.

However, the ASA ruled that the actors in the ad were proficient in performing the routine, which viewers would not be.

Viewers emulating the moves in the ad – such as twirling and flipping the can – were more likely to make mistakes which could lead them inserting their hands into an open can and cutting themselves.

Heinz protested that the cans in the ad had their sharp edges taped over, but the ASA ruled this was not clear and the text on-screen asking viewers to visit Facebook was “not sufficient advice to make a tin safe to play the Can Song”.

Safety measures not clear

The ASA also ruled that safety measures were not clear from the ad and considered that the actions shown could be dangerous for children to emulate. 

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. Heinz must ensure that future ads, “did not condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health and safety, including behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate​”, said the ASA.

The ASA suggested that Heinz should include a clear on-screen safety message such as “play safe: tape the can” ​on future campaigns.

Meanwhile, a Hooch advert featuring social media star Joe Charman has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA),​ after it ruled the juvenile behaviour depicted in the ad would appeal to under-18s. 

Related topics: Ambient foods, Legal

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3 comments

shake my head

Posted by Mr Beverage,

So while other ads show people sky diving, driving race cars or performing urban parkour..... tapping on an empty bean can is dangerous.

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"In the real World"

Posted by P Rogers,

Absurd. When something makes you smile, it must be banned, as it might be dangerous. Why cannot we be free to ridicule some of these "complaints"? It is time some sense of proportionality was reintroduced into our "risk free" culture.

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Ridiculous

Posted by Chris. Husband,

How much more ridiculous can this get.
If we keep banning ads for things like this then the world has gone completely nuts.
Some people just need to get a life. 9 complaints out of millions of viewers.
Absolutely ludicrous!!!!!!
Why not ban the Snowman ad as it may encourage children to jump off roofs and try to fly. And the list goes on.

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