A post on the advertisers’ own Facebook page featured a man wearing a white coat with a stethoscope around his shoulders holding a slice of pizza in one hand and a banana in another. The man is looking at the pizza slice and smiling.
Text on the post stated:
“Doctors recommend a balanced diet. So put pineapple on your pizza and you’re good to go [winking emoji]”
A post on the advertisers’ own Facebook page featured a woman taking a bite out of a very large pizza.
Text on the post stated:
“I see it...I like it...I want it...I got it...
# 7rings #FourStarPizza”
Post 1: The Irish Heart Foundation objected to Post 1 stating that the content was irresponsible by making fun of a balanced diet. They referenced that the ASAI Code stated that brands should not condone unhealthy eating or an unhealthy lifestyle in children nor should they disparage the selection of options that accepted dietary opinion recommended.
Specifically in relation to Post 1, they considered that the content indicated that a doctor’s recommendation was being mocked and by doing so were trying to engage with young people.
Finally, they stated that Facebook allowed children from the age of 13 to use their platform.
Post 2: The ASAI Executive asked the advertisers to comment on Post 2 as it had featured a person appearing to consume a very large pizza.
The advertisers stated that they took their responsibilities to promote a balanced diet seriously.
In regards to Post 1, they did not believe that the post realistically encouraged people not to have a balanced diet. They said that, in the context of their communication on their social channels, their brand was consistent and people that follow them on their channels would understand the tone they use and would not see the posts as a call to become unhealthy. They said that the post featured and focussed on one slice of pizza only.
They also said that engagement with their posts was primarily from the 25-34 year old age group and not children.
In regards to Post 2, they said that the wording used was a direct quote from song by an artist (named in the response) and they considered that their customers would see the post in that context and not feel that they needed to eat a pizza that size.
The ASAI Executive research indicated that the artist referenced in the advertisement was a highly acclaimed contemporary American pop artist aged in her mid-twenties.
Complaint Upheld in Part.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response
The Committee noted that the image had shown what may be considered to be an average single pizza slice and that the text accompanying the image had included a winking emoji. They considered that the inclusion of the emoji together with the tone of the text could have been construed that the post was not meant to be taken seriously.
Taking account of the portion size depicted in the advertisement, the Committee did not consider that the advertisement had condoned unhealthy eating or lifestyle. They did not uphold this aspect of the complaint.
The Committee noted the age group that primarily engaged with the advertisers’ posts was adult and they did not consider that Post 1 was intended to engage with children. They did not uphold this aspect of the complaint.
The Committee considered that the text implied that adding an unquantified amount of fruit meant that the consumption of a product would be considered to be part of a balanced diet. They considered that this, itself, would not be the case.
The Committee considered that the inclusion of the winking emoji with text implied that including a fruit on a food product would transform food that was not part of a balanced diet into one that was part of a balanced diet; the Committee considered that by using this approach, the advertisement had positioned the product as outside a balanced diet. They considered that this implication disparaged the selection of options that accepted dietary opinion recommended and that the advertisement was therefore in breach of Section 8.6 of the Code.
The Committee noted that the advertised wording had been taken from the song of well-known artist, noting that the title of the song had also been included as a hashtag. The Committee considered that the image had featured one female with a very large pizza and that the inference from the post was that one individual could get a similar size pizza and consume it without sharing. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the post was encouraging excess consumption and was in breach of Section 8.4 of the Code.
The post must be either amended or withdrawn. The Committee said that care must be taken to ensure that the selection of options that accepted dietary opinion recommended were not disparaged in marketing communications.
The post must be either amended or withdrawn. The Committee said that care must be taken when creating marketing communications to avoid the encouragement of excess consumption.