ASA Delia Smith Waitrose

ASA bans Delia Smith Waitrose ad


By The Drum Team | Editorial

March 2, 2011 | 3 min read

Waitrose’s national press ad and TV ad for Delia Smith's Christmas cake have been belatedly banned by the ASA.

The ads were banned following three viewers and a reader challenging whether the ads were misleading as they did not make clear that additional ingredients would be needed to be purchased in order to complete the cake as shown in the ads.

The TV ad for the pre-packaged cake mix featured Smith saying: "This year my traditional Christmas cake recipe is going to be the easiest thing ever. I'm really excited by this, because all the preparation has been done for you.

"You start with very soft butter and eggs in a bowl, and all you do is just empty the bags of all the different ingredients. You've got the soaked vine fruits, some lovely chopped nuts and even the treacle has been measured for you."

She added: "Then you need to feed the cake with Armagnac or brandy. There's something about the smell of a home-baked Christmas cake that makes you feel really excited. Hats off to Waitrose for doing it."

While the press ad stated: "Waitrose have made Delia’s classic recipe even easier by measuring out all the ingredients and combining them in one handy pack".

Waitrose defended the advert, arguing that cake-mix products usually only included dry ingredients and consumers would be aware that they needed to supply their own stock ingredients such as eggs, butter, milk, oil and water.

The ASA said that while consumers were likely to expect fresh products to be bought separately, they would not expect to have to buy additional ingredients such as an orange and a lemon or alcohol to "feed" the cake.

The ASA adjudication stated: "Because the ads did not make clear that additional ingredients were also required to produce the featured cake, we concluded that the ads were misleading."

Neither press ad nor TV ad are to appear again in their current forms.

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: "There was never any intention to mislead shoppers as we genuinely believed that our customers wouldn't expect fresh dairy ingredients such as butter, eggs or a whole orange and lemon to be actually included inside the cake ingredients pack. The pack clearly stated that customers would need to purchase these ingredients separately."

ASA Delia Smith Waitrose

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