Wednesday, October 20
Advertertising Standards Authority has banned a Waitrose TV ad campaign featuring Heston Blumenthal for making misleading claims about pork.
In the television ads, Blumenthal was depicted walking through a field talking about how the best-tasting pork comes from "outdoor bred" British pigs.
In one of the ads, he claimed that "Waitrose essential pork comes from pigs that are outdoor bred," before a farmer added: "Happy pigs do make for great tasting pork."
The ASA received four complaints that the TV ads were misleading because they implied Waitrose pork came from pigs that spent the duration of their lives outdoors, when in fact they were reared "indoors in confined conditions after a few weeks".
Waitrose attempted to argue that "outdoor bred" was a standard term in the pig farming industry that meant animals were born in fields but later moved indoors into "airy sheds with straw".
The supermarket chain also said that it had deliberately ensured not to use the term "outdoor reared", which would have been misleading.
The ASA noted that the term "outdoor bred" is "commonly understood in the pig farming industry", but it judged that television viewers would not be aware of its meaning.
"Viewers were likely to understand 'outdoor bred' to mean that the pigs that were used to produce the product spent the duration of their lives outdoors," said the watchdog.
"Because that was not the case, we concluded that the ads were misleading."
The ASA therefore banned the TV ads and warned Waitrose to ensure that future marketing campaigns were not misleading.
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