BBC News

Heinz beans advert banned by advertising watchdog

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A Heinz beans advert showing how to beat out a song on tin cans has been banned for health and safety reasons.

The advertisement featured young people and adults using empty or full tins to make the rhythm of a song, with the catchline "#Learn the CanSong".

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that mistakes might be made that could lead to people cutting their hands or fingers.

Kraft Heinz denied that the advertising campaign posed a risk.

Three viewers complained that the TV advert could encourage unsafe practice and six believed it featured behaviour that could be dangerous for children to copy.

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The ASA said it was unlikely that consumers would be as proficient as the actors at flipping and twirling the cans around.

But it said that mistakes might be made with an empty can, given the manoeuvres required and the lack of instructions.

image copyrightHeinz
image captionHeinz posted online tutorials on social media showing people how to prepare the cans

"For the reasons given and because the ad did not include information on how to ensure consumer safety when recreating the song, we concluded that the ad condoned and encouraged behaviour that prejudiced health or safety," the decision continued.

"We told Heinz to ensure that future ads did not condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health and safety, including behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate, for example by featuring open tin cans being used to play music."

The ASA ordered Heinz not to broadcast the advert again in its current form.

'No regulations'

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it would not contradict the ruling, but its chairman Martin Temple said: "It does look like the term health and safety has been used incorrectly here".

He added: "We would hope the public realise there are absolutely no regulations preventing children from playing with empty sealed tin cans.

"One thing kids never lack is imagination to invent their own games with the simplest of props. Obviously if a child is playing with a jagged edge on a tin container there is a risk of injury, but we would hope parents manage that risk."

image copyrightHeinz
image captionThe company advised taping the ends of the empty can as an extra precaution

Heinz said its online tutorials on social media included taping the ends of an empty can as an extra precaution, and at no time did it show people placing their hands or fingers in the cans.

It said safety was its number one priority but acknowledged the decision and confirmed that it had no plans to run the campaign again.

A spokesman said: "We believe this popular ad did not pose any safety risk and many fans were inspired to create their own video versions."

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