“Meat and two buns”. Is Morrison’s a mecca for the unhealthy eater?

This week you would have read that Morrison’s have had a TV ad banned for condoning unhealthy eating. Well if you’ve ever shopped in Morrison’s Wood Green or Holloway, you’d know that the average shopper there eats anything but healthy.

Morrisons received a grilling from the ASA over its burger ad

As I often visit all the supermarkets to look at competitive products to those FMCG brands I work on, I am not ashamed to confess that I do shop occasionally in Morrison’s. In fact they are excellent for fish (award winning) and their range of vegetables are as good as any. I also highly recommend their own brand Spanish olive oil and their turkey thighs.

Sadly they also sell lots of junk food, processed foods and generally unhealthy meals. Not to mention fatty snacks and high sugar drinks.

Last week I was standing behind the ‘Large’ family (both well over 20 stone and their kids well over the acceptable weight for their age) and was shocked at what was trundling along the conveyor belt. Big bags of crisps, sweets, full fat coke, cheese dippers, pizza… well the list goes on, and beer, lots of beer. Not a single fresh item of fruit or vegetable or even fresh fish or meat. Obviously the Government’s healthy marketing campaign isn’t reaching the likes of Morrison shoppers.

I couldn’t help but comment to the check out girl who replied, “Most of them are like that in here.” A look about made me realise, I was the odd one out.

The TV ad (by DLWKLowe) that upset viewers (and probably lots of vegans and vegetarians) features a mother making a hamburger for her daughter.

The ad is set in a small kitchen in a council flat. On the table is mayonnaise and ketchup and it’s laid for two only (so maybe a single parent?). What is interesting is that the ads isn’t set in a middle class kitchen, it’s quite gritty in it’s setting and probably quite true to life, if not a bit out dated in look.

The mother stacks lettuce, tomato and onion on top of the burger and then adds the bun. The girl, on receiving the burger, removed the lettuce, tomato and onion from the bun, tossing it to the side of her plate, before eating the burger. The voice-over says “Love quarter-pounders. Love them cheaper“.

Eleven viewers challenged the ad for condoned and encouraged poor nutritional habits, an unhealthy lifestyle and disparaged a good dietary practice, especially in children. With so many ant-meat groups and others championing healthy eating for children, 11 complaints seems small.

Ignoring the salad fiasco, this really is not a proper meal to feed a growing child, even if she looks like a member of Swiss family Robinson – who was doing wardrobe! And giving kids mayonnaise is not healthy either. But at least she has a glass of orange juice to wash it down with (or is it Sunny D?).

Under the BCAP Codes 13.2 and 13.5 (which states ads must not disparage good dietary practice) the ASA upheld the complaint and banned the ad and cautioned Morrison’s against portraying unhealthy lifestyles in future ads. Does surprise me it got past Clearcast.

Morrison’s marketing department tried to defend the ad saying she was probably going to have the salad later… yeah right! Obviously their definition of a good meal is ‘meat and two buns’.

Of course if the mother in the ad had been a real Morrison shopper, she probably wouldn’t know what a lettuce or tomato was, let along have it in the house. But that’s what is great about ads, they aren’t real.


ASA  ruling: