Burger King Facebook and Twitter ads dubbed misleading

Three recent social media adverts run by Burger King UK wrongly claimed to be vegan-friendly, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Facebook and Twitter adverts broadcast in January 2020 – during the annual Veganuary period when many brands push vegan-friendly products – claimed the restaurant chain’s ‘Rebel Whopper’ was suitable for vegetarians and vegans. But the ASA has upheld the ten complaints it received, agreeing that all three ads were misleading.

Claims of “100% Whopper No Beef” and “plant-based burger” were deemed deceptive because the products were cooked alongside other meat products. And although Burger King included small print in the ads, these qualifications were not adequate, according to the ad authority.

“The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claims “100% Whopper. No Beef” and in particular the claim “plant-based burger” to mean that the burger did not contain any beef or animal products,” it said.

“We considered that the presence of the “Vegetarian Butcher” logo, the green colour palette and the timing of the ad and product release to coincide with ‘Veganuary’ contributed further to the impression that the product was suitable for vegans and vegetarians. However, we understood that although the patty itself was plant-based, it was cooked on the same grill as meat products.”

The ASA also said the complete burger showed on the ad contained egg-based mayonnaise, which does not make it suitable for vegans, and has urged Burger King not to run ads like these in the future.

In response, Burger King said the small print on the ads stated the products may not be suitable for vegetarians and vegans and that dietary information was “clearly communicated to journalists and clearly stated on all social media posts and subsequent customer dialogue”.

Burger King said it had excluded the Vegetarian Butcher logo from TV ads as it was considered potentially misleading. The fast food chain indicated the product itself consisted of a 100% plant-based patty and had no beef, adding that customers who did not want mayonnaise could have excluded that from their order.

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