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Advertiser: Carton Bros – Sicín Sásta
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
A television advertisement for Sicín Sásta featured two men standing outside with a flock of chickens roaming around in front of them.
Male 1: Paddy, how will we get all the chickens inside if it starts raining?
Male 2: Don't worry Fitzy, our chickens are free. Hatched here on the farm and entitled to roam as they please. It's all a part of what makes them happy.
Male 1: Well, as long as they don't cross the road then Paddy, (laughs) do you know what I mean? Sicín Sásta
On-Screen text: “Sicín Sásta. Chickens raised right.”
Two complaints were received regarding the advertisement. Both complainants objected to the advertisement on the grounds that the portrayal of the chickens being outside and the voiceover referring to the chickens as being free, implied that the Sicín Sásta product range was exclusively free range, when the range was made up of two product tiers, a free-range product and a product called ‘Farmers Own’ that was not free range and which the complainants considered were ‘battery’ chickens. The complainants also noted that some stores only stocked the Farmers Own tier which was not free-range, and they considered that consumers could assume that they were buying a free-range product when they were not.
The advertisers said that all Sicín Sásta chicken was raised with welfare at the forefront and that none of their chicken was “battery” reared. They said that the standards they had for their chicken went beyond industry standards laid down by Bord Bia and the EU and that they were regularly audited on their standards.
They said that they had not set out to confuse customers as all their credentials were clearly on the packaging so that customers could make an informed decision. They also said that information on their products was available on their website and that the product tiers were clearly distinguishable through the use of colour on the unique and very different packaging. They said that the advertisement never made any reference to free-range and that the main call out had been the welfare of their chickens with the callout “Chickens raised right” which applied to both product tiers as all Sicín Sastá chickens were raised with more space to grow for their ‘Farmers Own’ tier and for their free-range tier. They said that there was a significant difference between the pricing of the two product tiers and while they encouraged all stores to stock the full range, the store size or store demographic would not always allow this and that ultimately it was up to the store itself whether they stocked the product or not. They said that the reason they allowed for two tiers was to allow those who were reluctant to pay the price for free-range the ability to buy into the ‘Farmers Own’ tier.
The advertisers said that all their chickens were raised “cruelty free” as per the guidelines laid down by Bord Bia and that they were exceeding these standards. They also said that welfare standards were also enhanced and Farmers who grow the chickens for them were carefully selected based on their history of strong positive welfare standards.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response.
The Complaints Committee noted that the advertisement had featured an open green area with chickens roaming and that one of the male characters had said “… our chickens are free” and “ … entitled to roam as they please”. The Committee considered that the impression created by the advertising was that all Sicin Sasta chickens were free range. The Committee also noted however that there were two product offerings but that the advertisement had not referenced product differentiations. As the impression created applied to both offerings rather than to one product tier only, the Committee considered that the advertisement was likely to mislead by omission and was in breach of Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form again.