Proof if it were needed of the fervour of the junk food lobby has emerged once more following a failed attempt to ban a TV ad for a gadget which allows consumers to remove the core of a banana and fill it with liquid.
On the surface, the ad for the ‘Banana Surprise’ kitchen accessory which appeared on CITV, looked innocent enough. It was set in the jungle and featured two children dressed as explorers and a cartoon monkey sitting on hundreds of bananas. The voice-over stated “Make yummy banana treats, with Banana Surprise. Simply cut your banana, then remove the core. Now fill your banana with your favourite flavours.”
But Sustain, a charity which promotes “better food and farming”, took acception and rifled off a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, insisting the device encouraged children to consume foods which were high in fat, sugar or salt.
In response, the firm which markets the gadget – Character Options – said it believed parents would encourage their children to eat healthy fillings and considered that the product encouraged children to eat bananas; namely a healthy food, which they might not have eaten had they not played with the product. They pointed out that the ad stated “make yummy banana treats”. They did not believe the ad was irresponsible.
Agreeing with the advertiser, the ASA noted that the advertised product was not actually a food-related accessory, marketed as a toy.
While it acknowledged that the ad featured children using the product with various fillings, no sugary or fatty foods were shown, as the focus of the ad was on the product itself, rather than the fillings. This led the ASA to clear the ad for future broadcasts.
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