ASA declares McDonald's cows ad not misleading

A McDonald's ad that aimed to show viewers the quality of the meat used in its burgers has avoided a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ad by Leo Burnett explained that a lot of people think the meat used in its burgers can be of a poor quality. It then showed seven cows in a large open field, and explained how the cattle is kept.

However, one complainant questioned whether the claims were misleading and could be substantiated.

McDonald’s said that 82 per cent of its cattle has access to outdoor grazing fields. It added that the ad showed one of the beef farms that supplied its ingredients, and was "representative of other beef farms that provided beef" for its supply chain.

Clearcast also checked with the company whether the farm used in the ad was representative of a typical McDonald’s beef farm. In its ruling the ASA said Clearcast was satisfied with the substantiation that the restaurant chain provided.

The report said: "[Clearcast] pointed out that the cattle were not shown exclusively grazing outside and that the ad referred to ‘the kind of cow McDonald's use’ not ‘all cows’."

The ASA said that it took into consideration that the ad explained that outdoor grazing was part of the way cattle were kept. It ruled that the ad was not misleading on the basis of the evidence supplied by McDonald’s and Clearcast.