A radio ad for Costa Coffee has been banned for discouraging consumers from buying avocados.
The commercial in June featured a voice-over saying: “Oh, there’s a great deal on ripen-at-home avocados. Sure, they’ll be hard as rock for the first 18 days, three hours and 20 minutes, then they’ll be ready to eat, for about 10 minutes, then they’ll go off,” before encouraging consumers to head to the coffee chain for a bacon roll or egg muffin instead.
Two listeners complained that the promotion discouraged consumers from selecting fresh fruit.
Costa said the ad played on the “unfortunate issue of ripening” avocados.
Costa said it was not suggesting to listeners that they made a definitive choice over two breakfast items but instead informed them that they had a promotional offer “to satisfy breakfast requirements”.
Radiocentre, which clears ads for broadcast, said consumers would regard the comparison as a “light-hearted remark about the common experience of buying inedible avocados when compared to buying an instant hot coffee and bacon roll or egg muffin”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said consumers would interpret the ad as a comparison between the experience of eating an avocado and a bacon roll or egg muffin.
It said: “We considered that, although the ad was light-hearted, it nevertheless suggested avocados were a poor breakfast choice, and that a bacon roll or egg muffin would be a better alternative, and in doing so discouraged the selection of avocados.”
It ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again, adding: “We told Costa to ensure future ads did not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits and that they did not disparage good dietary practice.”