Stop being rotten to fruit, ad watchdog tells Costa

Complaints that a Costa radio ad disparaged avocados in favour of bacon have been upheld by the ASA.

Stop being rotten to fruit, ad watchdog tells Costa

Café chain Costa has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for encouraging poor nutritional habits with a radio ad that claimed getting a bacon roll or egg muffin from the coffee shop was a "better deal" than buying avocados.

The light-hearted ad compared Costa’s breakfast offer to what the voiceover introduced as the unappealing prospect of ripen-at-home avocados.

"Oh, there's a great deal on ripen-at-home avocados. Sure, they'll be hard as rock for the first 18 days, three hours and 20 minutes, then they'll be ready to eat, for about 10 minutes, then they'll go off," the script ran.

It continued: "For a better deal, head to Costa Coffee and grab a delicious, piping-hot bacon roll or egg muffin for just £2 when you buy any medio or massimo hot drink or flat white before 11am."

The ad drew two complaints that it discouraged the selection of fresh fruit.

Costa argued that it was not suggesting listeners make a definitive choice over two breakfast items, while Radiocentre, which is responsible for clearing radio ads ahead of broadcast, argued that the majority of consumers would not regard the comparison as serious.

However, the ASA decided that while the ad was light-hearted, it nevertheless suggested that avocados were a poor breakfast choice and a bacon roll or egg muffin would be a better alternative.

BCAP Code section 13.5 stipulates that "comparisons between foods must not discourage the selection of options such as fresh fruit and fresh vegetables".

The ASA told Costa not to run the ad again and to ensure future advertising does not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits or disparage good dietary practice.

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