Storm in a bean can. Heinz ad banned over safety fears
Beans ad featuring actors drumming out a song on a tin can ‘encouraging behaviour that risks health and safety’
A Heinz advert teaching viewers how to use tin cans to drum out a song has been banned for encouraging behaviour that risks health and safety.
The advert featured children, teenagers and adults using empty or full Heinz Beanz tins to drum out the rhythm of the song, with the catchline “Learn the #CanSong”.
Nine viewers complained that the advert encouraged “unsafe practices” and six believed it featured behaviour that could be dangerous for children to copy.
Heinz said the advert showed people tapping the can on its sealed top, bottom or sides - all “safe” surfaces - and did not show anyone putting their hand or fingers inside the can.
The company said consumers had uploaded their own versions of the song onto social media sites, “which was evidence that copying the ad was not prejudicial to their health or safety”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that consumers were “unlikely to be as proficient as the actors” at flipping and twirling the can around.
It said that “in any case, particularly given the manoeuvres required, it might still be possible that mistakes could be made with an empty can, which might include a hand or fingers being inserted into an open tin, with the associated risk of cuts”.
It said the advert itself did not include any instructions to consumers to ensure a tin can was made safe before attempting to learn the song.
The ASA said: “For the reasons given and because the ad did not include information on how to ensure consumer safety when recreating the song, we concluded that the ad condoned and encouraged behaviour that prejudiced health or safety.”
It ruled that the advert must not be broadcast again in its current form, adding: “We told Heinz to ensure that future ads did not condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health and safety, including behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate, for example by featuring open tin cans being used to play music.”
Heinz said: “We believe this popular ad did not pose any safety risk and many fans were inspired to create their own video versions. Of course safety is our number one priority and our online tutorials also included taping the can end as an extra precaution.
“Although we acknowledge the ASA decision, the TV campaign is over and we have no plans to run it again.”
Health and Safety Executive chairman Martin Temple said: “While the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would not wish to publicly contradict this ruling, it does look like the term ‘health and safety’ has been used incorrectly here. We would hope the public realise there are absolutely no regulations preventing children from playing with empty sealed tin cans.
“One thing kids never lack is imagination to invent their own games with the simplest of props. Obviously if a child is playing with a jagged edge on a tin container there is a risk of injury, but we would hope parents manage that risk.
“HSE has always encouraged children to learn through play. Whether climbing trees, painting with their hands or throwing stones into a lake, we want children to enjoy life and all the experiences it brings.”