Pork industry ad banned by watchdog for telling porkies: Advertisers warned not to bag competitors

A TV advertisement for the Australian pork industry has been banned after the advertising watchdog found claims made in the ad about red meat were misleading.

The ad claimed pork contains half the fat of red meat, prompting a complaint by Meat and Livestock Australia to the Advertising Standards Board.

The advertisement began by showing a beef steak next to a pork steak and a woman saying, “Two juicy steaks, the big difference is, one has half the fat of the other. Well, unless I do this.”

The woman then cut the beef steak in half and removed one half from view.

The board found the ad was misleading and deceptive as it failed to make clear which cuts of pork and red meat were being compared.

“There will be some cuts of red meat which don’t contain twice the fat of some cuts of pork,” it found.

Australian Pork Limited said it believed a line of text that appeared on the bottom of the ad was enough to let consumers know which products they were comparing.

“While we do not agree that it was misleading, we agree to modify the advertisement moving forward so that the messages conveyed within it are simpler,” it said in a statement to the Advertising Standards Board.

“APL remains a diligent advertiser that pre-tests claims with legal specialists and often pre-tests finished advertisements with consumers.”

APL agreed to withdraw the advertisement and said it will remake it to make it less confusing for consumers.

Michelle Gamble, owner of Marketing Angels, told SmartCompany the case opens up all food advertising to scrutiny.

“There are claims made all the time by food advertising companies that are spin and I think that now that precedent has been set the gloves will be off,” she says.

Gamble warns “it’s risky” for one advertiser to promote its product or industry by making negative comments which denigrate another advertiser.

“I think it does shake the tail of your competitors and unless you are really water tight on the claims you are going to make you are opening yourself up to competitors coming in and making the sort of claim Meat and Livestock Australia are making,” she says.

“It just comes back to integrity and I think with much more information available to people and much more tools at peoples fingertips for people to create debate around claims advertisers make, advertisers have to be really careful and put integrity at the core of their messages.”

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