“Life Threatening Risk”: Complaint Forces Burger King TV Ad Redo
Burger King turns out not to be an “Advertisement King,” having been forced to change a recent advertisement after a viewer complaint.
A viewer complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, saying the TV commercial depicted dangerous activities without sufficient warnings (it showed people barbecuing inside their campervan).
The voiceover for the advertisement said: “You can’t BBQ everywhere this summer, but you can BK BBQ.” Everyone is eating Burger King Burgers on the beach at the end of the ad.
A small disclaimer on the original advertisement said “Never BBQ in a vehicle, it is stupid and impairs your ability to be alive.”
According to the viewer, the ad did not convey the life-threatening risk from carbon monoxide poisoning:
“I strongly think that this advertisement is not compliant with the code as it includes three individuals cooking on a BBQ inside a closed vehicle that is full of smoke and thus depicts incredibly unsafe behavior.
“While the advertisement does include a brief warning in small white text that viewers should never cook inside a car, the ad does not convey the seriousness of the life-threatening risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Those in the smoke-filled car would certainly have needed treatment at hospital rather than suffering no consequences from their unsafe behavior as depicted in the ad.”
The authority settled the complaint without it going to the complaints board, noting Burger King had made changes to the advertisement and added a clearer safety message.
“The Chair noted the Complainants’ concerns the advertisement depicted unsafe behavior, which is potentially life threatening,” reads the decision (the full decision can be found here).
“The Chair acknowledged the advertiser had made changes to the television advertisement and added a clearer safety message.
“Given the advertiser’s co-operative engagement with the process and the self-regulatory action taken in amending the advertisement, the Chair said that it would serve no further purpose to place the matter before the Complaints Board.”
Two men died of carbon monoxide poisoning near Raglan in 2008 after using a charcoal barbecue inside a cabin.
The following year three Taumarunui children found their parents dead after they used a patio-style gas heater in their bedroom.
A Christchurch family was lucky to be alive in 2016, spending time in decompression chambers at Christchurch Hospital, after the youngest of the children lost consciousness and had a seizure.
And a West Auckland family was poisoned by carbon monoxide in their home after a petrol generator filled their under-construction Massey house with the colorless, odorless and tasteless fumes from the gas in 2012.
In the meantime, you can still find the advertisement on the Burger King NZ Facebook page…