A recent Burger King advertisement has been banned after outrage from customers led to the promotion being deemed “misleading.”
The BBC reported that the U.K.-based agency found that the company’s marketing suggested that the sandwich was “suitable for vegetarians and vegans,” despite being cooked on the same grill as the company’s meat-based options. Additionally, the burger contains mayonnaise, which is made with egg yolk.
Those details, which conflict with vegan diets, became a source of controversy during the product’s launch. The ASA ruled that Burger King’s ads gave a false impression that the product was 100 percent animal product-free.
Additionally, the agency found it misleading that the sandwich was launched during “Veganuary” and featured green, plant-focused imagery.
Vegans and vegetarians shared their frustrations over the product at the time, calling it a “bad idea” and a “flop.”
“Who’s idea was this?” one Twitter user wrote. “What the hell were the marketing team smoking the day they through that would be a good idea??????”
“In what world do you live in where eggs are plant based?” another asked.
“This is so confusing. I’m all for offering an alternative to meat-eaters, but why would you so blatantly exclude a growing Vegan market?” another added.
Burger King, meanwhile, has stated that it was “clear and transparent” in its marketing of the sandwich. In a statement to the BBC, the company said it had communicated that the Rebel Whopper may not be safe for vegetarians or vegans, even adding warnings in some of its advertisements.
Ultimately, the ASA said those efforts weren’t sufficient.
“We considered it was not sufficiently prominent to override the overall impression that the burger was suitable for vegetarians and vegans,” the agency’s ruling stated.
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