Healthcare Food Advertising

Heinz Beanz ad canned by regulator for second time over protein claims


By Sam Bradley, Journalist

July 24, 2018 | 4 min read

A revised TV ad for Heinz Beanz has been banned once again by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for making health claims about the protein benefits of baked beans.

Heinz beans in a bowl

A Heinz Beanz ad has been banned by the ASA for nutrition claims.

Heinz originally fell foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over the campaign, which compared the nutritional value of its baked beans to that of a protein shake, in 2017.

Now, a revised version of the BBH-created spot (part of the brand's 'Good For You Without Going On About It' campaign) has been canned for the second time.

The updated film was broadcast in February this year. In the ad, a man returned to his kitchen after a workout, and explained his ‘new regime’ to a woman and a young girl, before taking a swig of an unlabeled beige health drink.

The woman watched him wince, and was shown replying: ‘right. We’re just having beans.’ On screen text said that baked beans were ‘High in protein, high in fibre, low in fat’, and declared Heinz Beanz were ‘Good for you without going on about it’.

While the ASA said Heinz was allowed to claim that beans were high in protein and fibre and low in fat, the watchdog took issue with the depiction of the male character’s protein shake drink.

The ASA added it “would be interpreted by viewers to mean that the beans had as much protein, fibre and fat as the protein shake that had just been displayed.”

Heinz said that, following the earlier ASA decision, it had already changed the wording in the ad to avoid viewers assuming that the protein shake and the beans were being directly compared. The original script called for the woman character to reply: ‘same. We’re just having beans,’ instead of ‘right.’

However, the amendment didn't alter the watchdog’s decision. Elaborating as to why, the ASA stated: “We considered consumers would therefore interpret the ad as presenting Heinz Beanz as a tastier and more appetising, but nutritionally equivalent, alternative to consuming a protein shake.”

Because the advertising code requires advertisers to qualify direct comparisons of products – and because the ad did not include any qualifying information to back up the apparent claim that a bowl of baked beans contained as much nutritional value as a protein shake, the ASA concluded that the ad was in breach of the code.

The watchdog has told Heinz that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

In a statement, Heinz said the "popular" TV ad "simply aimed to be a memory jogger about the goodness of beans in a humorous way which we believed fully met advertising requirements."

The food company said Clearcast, gave the revised ad its full approval.

"Although we are disappointed with the ASA decision we have no plans to run this particular TV ad again," a spokesperson added.

Healthcare Food Advertising

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Bartle Bogle Hegarty is a Global advertising agency. Founded in 1982 by British ad men John Bartle, Nigel Bogle, and John Hegarty, BBH has offices in London, New...

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