The Morrisons ad, created by DLKW Lowe and part of the supermarket’s drive to promote its price cuts and slash its own losses, received 11 complaints, with people taking issue because they believed it promoted unhealthy eating habits among children.
The commercial showed a young girl talking about her day at school as her mother assembled a burger for her. The mother piled lettuce, onion and tomato into the burger bun, but when the girl was given the burger, she removed everything except the meat. The voiceover said: "Love quarter-pounders. Love them cheaper", with accompanying shots of burgers.
Clearcast, responding on Morrisons’ behalf, countered that the daughter did not look disdainfully at the salad and vegetable items, that she removed from the bun, that they were not discarded, and that it was feasible that she would return to them later.
But the ASA noted that the girl immediately removed the salad and chose the burger, with less nutritional value, and that the ad reinforced the notion of the less healthy eating option with its "love" burgers voiceover.
It also said that the girl dropped the salad "on the side in a careless manner, before placing her hands around the bun, ready to eat and smiling, which we considered suggested she was not going to eat the salad later".
The watchdog pointed out that the BCAP Code states that ads should not disparage good dietary habits, which it concluded the ad was guilty of. The ASA said the ad should not be broadcast again in its current form and that the supermarket should not condoned or encourage poor nutritional habits, especially among children.