Bakery franchise in hot water with advertising watchdog

Which leading bakery franchise has taken down its ad? 

The Australian Standards Board (ASB) has upheld complaints against a campaign from franchise Bakers Delight, regarding a limited edition range of finger buns topped with icing and miniature chocolate M&Ms.

The digital billboard advertisement, which was visible in various stores across Australia, was accompanied by taglines such as, “School lunches? Problem solved”, “Your lunchbox solution”, and “Be a lunchbox hero”.

A report by SmartCompany states that complainants told the ASB they did not approve of the ad’s message, saying it was “appalling”.

“Bakers Delight is specifically targeting children to include M&M finger buns as a day-to-day lunch box item. Such products, should rarely (or preferably never) be eaten by children, let alone promoted and ‘normalised’ as an everyday food that is appropriate to take to school,” wrote one complainant.

“At a time when Australia is facing an obesity crisis, it seems incredibly irresponsible and unethical to market such products to children and their carers.”

In a response to the complaints, Bakers Delight defended the advertisements and claimed they were not intended to be marketed to children. Instead, it said, the ads were aimed at “busy” parents to encourage them to buy Bakers Delight “during the back to school rush period”.

“The campaign is targeted to the parents of school aged children, to encourage them to consider our products for their children. There are no campaign elements that are targeted to children, everything is considered from the parent’s point of view,” the company said.

Bakers Delight also said the advertisements were promoting the product as an “occasional treat”, rather than as a product for everyday consumption.

“It is our intention to promote this product as a limited time only treat for occasional eating,” the company said.

However, the board upheld the complaints, stating the advertisement infringed on section 2.2 of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Food Code.

“The Board noted that the advertisement depicts finger buns and savoury buns and that whilst designed to be options for a lunchbox treat or occasional lunch alternative, this is not clear in the advertisement,” the ASB said.

“The majority of the Board noted that the reader may interpret the advertisement as being a suggestion of some items to go in the lunch box, however, in the view of the majority, the text ‘your lunchbox solution’ strongly suggests this is all you could have.”

In response, Bakers Delight said the advertising campaign had already finished and would not be run again.