Burger King ad banned after vegan dispute
Adverts for Burger King’s ‘Rebel Whopper plant-based’ burger have been banned after complaints pointed out misleading marketing which suggests the burger is suitable for vegans.
Burger King has been banned from showing adverts suggesting its Rebel Whopper is vegan-friendly.
After receiving 10 complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the fast food chain’s claim that the burger is “100% Whopper, no beef” could be understood to mean it did not contain animal products, but the burger is in fact cooked alongside other meat products and contains eggs.
Burger King said it had been “clear and transparent” in its marketing. “We communicated from the outset that the Rebel Whopper is aimed at a flexitarian audience,” it said in a statement, claiming that when the burger launched, it was made clear that it was designed for those wanting to reduce their meat consumption.
However, according to ASA, social media posts about the Rebel Whopper could have been interpreted to indicate that the burger was suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
“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,” ASA said.
Although some of the adverts included small print which stated the burger was “cooked alongside meat products,” ASA said “it was not sufficiently prominent to override the overall impression that the burger was suitable for vegetarians and vegans.”
“Burger King explained that the product itself consisted of a 100 percent plant-based patty supplied by the Vegetarian Butcher and had no beef,” ASA said.
It was also noted the ads “did not refer to the presence of egg mayonnaise. We noted that some complainants had raised concerns about egg allergies.
“They added that a customer who did not want mayonnaise could have excluded that from their order.”