ASA clears Happy Egg ads despite RSPCA concerns

A TV and press campaign for The Happy Egg Co brand has escaped action from the ad watchdog, after 39 people complained, following a news investigation about the brand.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority, the complaints all came from people who had watched a TV news report on conditions at the brand's farms, although the ASA was unable to clarify where and when the report was run.

All but one of the complainants challenged whether the brand's TV ad misrepresented conditions experienced by Happy Eggs' chickens, while seven complaints challenged whether it misleadingly implied the chickens were free range.

The TV ad by The Clinton Partnership showed chickens running around in fields and jumping into sandpits to the music from 'Chariots of Fire'.

The voiceover said: "At the Happy Egg Company, we do things differently. We create the perfect environment for our free-range hens to run, jump and play, because happy hens lay happy eggs and happy eggs are wonderfully tasty."

The ASA acknowledged viewers' concerns that the news report contradicted the impression created by the ad. It also took into account comments on the news report by Noble Foods, which trades as The Happy Egg Company, and the RSPCA.

It noted the Happy Egg Company had responded to the two compliance issues identified in the RSPCA's inspection of the sites concerned in the report.

It concluded the ad was not misleading, notwithstanding the concerns of the viewers who had seen the TV report, because most viewers would see it to be a humorous depiction of the life of a Happy Egg chicken, and because the Happy Egg Company sent evidence that showed it adhered to the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme, used gold and platinum graded free-range farms only, and had invested in activity kits for its chickens.

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