Costa Coffee in hot water with ASA for ad urging punters to choose bacon over avocado

According to Costa, the ad 'centered on the frustration and unpredictability of the avocado'

A radio ad for Costa Coffee has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the watchdog ruled it discouraged the selection of avocados as a breakfast choice in favour of bacon sandwiches.

The spot featured a voice-over which stated: ‘Oh, there's a great deal on ripen at home avocados. Sure, they'll 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. For a better deal head to Costa Coffee and grab a delicious, piping hot bacon roll or egg muffin for just £2 when you buy any medio or massimo hot drink or flat white before 11am.’

The ad was produced by BBH London.

According to Costa, the ad “centered on the frustration and unpredictability of the avocado.” The brand claimed that the script drew upon comical anecdotes shared by consumers on the frustration of buying an avocado and trying to predict when it would ripen, and that it was not “suggesting to listeners to make a definitive choice over two breakfast items”.

The ASA took the opposing viewpoint, and stated that “consumers would interpret the ad as a comparison between the experience of eating an avocado and a bacon roll or egg muffin.”

It noted that the BCAP Code, which provides advice and guidelines to advertisers, stated brands must not discourage the selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. The watchdog said that: “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.”

The ASA ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again, and future marketing for the chain “must not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits and not disparage good dietary practice.”

Amid a nationwide obesity crisis, the ASA has come down hard on advertisers marketing salty, fatty and sugary foods. The watchdog has recently banned ads from Kinder, KFC and Kellogg’s.

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