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Heinz beans ad banned: Six more canned campaigns

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Beans may be good for the heart, but empty tin cans are not so good for hands or fingers - so says the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which on Wednesday banned a Heinz TV ad for encouraging people to beat out a song using empty cans - but Heinz is not alone.

Big brands including BT, Yves St Laurent and Strongbow have also recently had ads banned.

Meanwhile, other companies - Moneysupermarket.com and Protein World included - have been allowed to keep ads that attracted hundreds of complaints from consumers.

The Heinz TV ad, using the catchline "Learn the #CanSong", shows a group of people tapping and twirling empty cans to drum out rhythms.

Three people complained that the TV advert encouraged unsafe behaviour, while six more said it could be dangerous if children tried to copy the music.

Heinz denied the ad posed a safety risk, but the ASA upheld both complaints, saying it might result in "hands or fingers being inserted into an open tin".

Image copyright Heinz
Image caption Heinz posted online tutorials on social media showing people how to prepare the cans

But nine complaints is a drop in the water compared with the thousands of people who complain to the ASA each year.

TV is the most complained-about advertising medium, with 11,611 complaints about 3,920 different commercials made to the watchdog in 2015.

In the first six months of this year, the ASA has tackled 1,598 rogue ads across all media - TV, online, outdoors and in print - by telling companies to either change their campaign or scrap the ad completely.

With "dangerous" beans cans the latest to face a ban, which other adverts has the watchdog set its sights on?


Broadband confusion

Image copyright BT
Image caption Ryan Reynolds did not impress BT rival Virgin Media, which complained the advert was misleading

BT's big budget campaign starring Deadpool and Green Lantern actor Ryan Reynolds was banned for making misleading claims about broadband speeds.

Rival Virgin Media complained that BT had implied its 52MB Infinity broadband offered the fastest speed at the lowest price in the UK.

And last month, BT was told to pull the ads, which ran across TV, in newspapers and online.


Misleading Muppet

Image copyright Three UK
Image caption Three, which runs a series of Muppet-themed ads, claimed it was the "undisputed" most reliable network

Mobile network Three's Muppet-themed advert was banned after another rival, EE, complained that it misled consumers.

In the ad, "Jackson the Muppet" is shown punching into the air, with the claim that the mobile company is the "undisputed" market leader for reliability.

The ASA said the wording of "undisputed" wrongly suggested there was an agreed measure of reliability.


Need for speed

Image copyright Audi
Image caption Audi's dilating eyeball was seen to link speed with excitement

Audi's advert for its sporty R8 model was banned in August for making an "irresponsible" link between speed and excitement.

The ad depicts a driver's pupil contracting and dilating as the car accelerates through a tunnel.

Volkswagen, which owns the Audi brand, insisted the ad had been shot at under the 30mph speed limit.


'Unhealthily thin'

Image copyright PA
Image caption An Elle UK reader complained the designer brand's advert was "irresponsible"

An Yves Saint Laurent magazine ad featuring an "unhealthily underweight" model was banned after a reader complained last year.

After seeing the ad in Elle UK magazine, the reader complained it was "irresponsible" of the designer brand to use a model whose ribcage was visible in the shot.

The ASA agreed that the model appeared "unhealthily thin".


'My dear Strongbow'

Image copyright Strongbow
Image caption A fictional "Carl" was criticised for suggesting Strongbow is as important as having a partner

A YouTube ad for Strongbow was banned for suggesting that cider was as important as a relationship.

The video features character Carl, who wins "Best Strongbow as my other half" in a fake awards ceremony.

Carl says: "I've loved you since the first day I met you, and I always will do, my dear Strongbow."

The ASA said his comments implied alcohol was "indispensible".

Meanwhile, alcopop Hooch was told to remove its ad featuring YouTube star Joe Charman over concerns it encouraged under-age drinking.

Charman is shown surfing across a swimming pool to deliver bottles of Hooch to his friends.

The ASA said his "adolescent or juvenile manner" could appeal to under-18s.


Tombstoning danger

Image copyright Hostelworld

Hostelworld had to scrap its video of a group of skinny-dippers jumping from cliffs into water.

Twenty people complained over concerns the naked swimmers encouraged "tombstoning", which has resulted in a number of deaths in the UK.


What escaped a ban?

The ASA refused to uphold 378 complaints that a weight-loss campaign featuring a woman in a bikini, asking: "Are you beach body ready?" was offensive.

Some of the complainants were concerned the ad could "shame women" with other body shapes.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Protein World's advert was not deemed offensive after the ASA investigated 378 complaints

The slimming product had earlier been told to change its ads, which ran prominently on London's Tube network, over potentially misleading health claims.

Moneysupermarket.com, meanwhile, is responsible for Britain's most-complained about TV commercial of 2015.

The ad showing a man walking down the street wearing heels and denim hot pants received 1,513 complaints.

But the ASA did not deem the "strutting man" offensive.

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