The ad, seen in February this year, depicted a man arriving home to his family – a woman and a young girl – after what appeared to be an exercise session.
When asked if he was hungry by the woman, the man pulls what appears to be a protein shake from the fridge, remarking it was high in protein and fibre and low in fat. In response, the woman said, “Right, we’re just having beans.”
Text on screen then said: “High in protein. High in Fibre. Low in Fat”, then displayed a can of Heinz Beanz with the accompanying text, “Good for you, without going on about it”.
Breach of the code
One complaint issued to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) challenged whether the ad included a nutrition claim that breached the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code).
HJ Heinz Foods UK said that the ad made the authorised nutrition claims that a portion of Heinz Beanz was high in protein, high in fibre and low in fat. The ad had been edited following a previous ASA decision, to prevent a comparative nutrition claim.
The original ad was ruled to directly imply that Heinz Beanz contained the same amount of protein and fibre and low fat content as a protein shake.
Clearcast, a non-governmental organisation that pre-approves most British television advertising, supported the ad. It did not believe that the ad compared the two food products shown.
However, the ASA considered that, in the context of the man’s statements, the woman’s response “Right, we’re just having beans” would be interpreted by viewers to mean that the beans had as much protein, fibre and fat as the protein shake that had just been displayed.
It noted that, while the ad did not state that Heinz Beanz had greater or fewer nutritional benefits than the protein shake, the impression of the ad made it seem that they did.
The ASA ruled that the ad breached BCAP Code rule 13.4 (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims) and that it must not appear again in its current form.