Brand Safety Creativity

McCain ad starring Baga Chipz draws 50 ASA complaints

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

June 29, 2022 | 4 min read

A new campaign from frozen food brand McCain announcing drag queen Baga Chipz as its creative director has prompted 50 complaints to the UK ad regulator.

UPDATE: McCain has now removed the ad [more here]

Earlier this month, McCain turned to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Baga Chipz to front the ‘Anything Goes’ campaign. Chipz was drafted to bring a unique style to midweek dinners, with McCain marketing director Mark Hodge saying her ”iconic and fearless attitude perfectly encapsulates our ‘Anything Goes’ philosophy”.

McCain

McCain Baga Chipz ads lands 50 ASA complaints

The brand began a paid social campaign on Twitter on June 27, but this post has drawn criticism ranging from the protagonist being ”insulting women” to reference of ”knockers” being offensive and inappropriate for a brand with products aimed at children.

At the time of writing, the ASA told The Drum it had received 50 complaints. It is currently reviewing whether these complaints carry weight and whether the ad breaks BCAP code 4.2.

The post read: "Our Creative Director Baga Chipz is a woman of many talents… like turning potatoes into high fashion Who knew McCain Smiles and baked beans could look so fabulous?"

The rule states: ”Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

”Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of: age; disability; gender; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.”

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Meanwhile, if the spot is found to be inappropriate for children, the brand will have to prove it never targeted media likely to be seen by this audience.

There has been a trend for brands to embrace ’dragvertising’, which many marketers see as helping to support LGBTQ+ artists and causes.

While the ASA has to take all complaints seriously, it will note that there’s often some backlash to similar ads, from John Lewis’s spot showing a boy in a dress destroying a house (banned on an unrelated technicality) and Moneysupermarket.com’s ’Epic Dance Off’ featuring a man in hot pants and heels (the most complained about ad for years after it ran).

McCain has responded to the complaints here.

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