LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain's biggest coffee house chain was banned Wednesday from repeating an advert that implied their breakfast deals were a better bet than eating an avocado.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulator found that the Costa Coffee radio commercial discouraged the selection of fresh fruit.
The commercial said avocados would be “hard as rock for the first 18 days, three hours and 20 minutes, then they'll be ready to eat, for about 10 minutes, then they'll go off”, before encouraging consumers to head to Costa Coffee for a bacon roll or egg muffin instead for breakfast.
Costa said its advert played on frustration with the unpredictability of ripening avocados, which have become an increasingly popular breakfast choice.
Radiocentre, which clears adverts for broadcast, said consumers would regard the comparison as a “light-hearted remark about the common experience of buying inedible avocados when compared to buying an instant hot coffee and bacon roll or egg muffin”.
Two listeners complained, claiming it discouraged consumers from eating fresh fruit.
The regulator said the ad breached the British Code of Advertising Practice, which states that comparisons between foods must not discourage the selection of options such as fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.
“The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the ad as a comparison between the experience of eating an avocado and a bacon roll or egg muffin,” the regulator said in its ruling.
“Although the ad was light-hearted, it nevertheless suggested avocados were a poor breakfast choice, and that a bacon roll or egg muffin would be a better alternative — and in doing so discouraged the selection of avocados.”
The advert, which was broadcast in June, cannot be aired again in its current form, the ASA said.
The regulator told Costa to ensure future adverts “did not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits, and that they did not disparage good dietary practice”.