Heinz rapped over baked beans ad safety

A Heinz baked beans ad which showed children drumming on empty tins has been banned because young viewers could copy it and slice their fingers open on sharp edges.

Wednesday, 23rd November 2016, 2:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 10:29 am
Handout still taken from video issued by the Advertising Standards Authority of a Heinz advert that teaches viewers how to use tin cans to drum out a song which has been banned for encouraging behaviour that risks health and safety.

The television ad showed full and empty tins being flipped and twirled around while actors drummed out the rhythm of a song on its sealed top, sides and bottom.

It was part of the food giant’s Facebook and social media campaign “Learn the #CanSong”.

But the advertising watchdog received complaints the ad encouraged unsafe practice and featured behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate.

The US multinational argued all surfaces shown in the ad “were safe to tap on and the ad did not depict any movements that involved placing a hand or fingers inside the can.”

It added viewers had created their own video versions of the ‘Can Song’ and uploaded them “which was evidence that copying the ad was not prejudicial to their health or safety.”

On its social media sites there were online tutorial videos explaining how the Can Song could be performed with “additional, precautionary measures” including instructions on preparing a can in the social media videos.

The tin needed to be empty and clean and it also recommended applying tape to the inside of the open end of the tin.

All cans in the ad had been taped.

The children shown tapping cans in the ad were supervised by adults and the ad was designed to appeal to adults too.

Advertiser Clearcast said the behaviour in the ad did not look dangerous or harmful and no one was shown playing with the rim of the cans .

However the Advertising Standards Authority banned the ad as viewers were likely to copy the actors.

But the children would not be as “proficient” and “it might still be possible that mistakes could be made with an empty can, which might include a hand or fingers being inserted into an open tin (with the associated risk of cuts).”

While the ad referred to Facebook and “#CanSong,” it did not include instructions “to ensure a tin can was made safe before attempting to learn the song.

“For the reasons given and because the ad did not include information on how to ensure consumer safety when recreating the song, we concluded that the ad condoned and encouraged behaviour that prejudiced health or safety.”

ASA added the ad was “likely to have appeal to a wide age range, including children, who wanted to learn the Can Song and would therefore seek to recreate it.

“However, as set out above, we considered there was a health and safety risk in doing so, particularly if a child was to attempt to play the song with an empty tin without adult supervision.

“Because the ad was likely to condone or encourage behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate, we concluded it breached the Code.

“The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

“We told HJ Heinz Foods UK Ltd to ensure that future ads did not condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health and safety, including behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate, for example by featuring open tin cans being used to play music.”