ASA bans 'fantastical' Deliveroo advert for being 'misleading'

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by Mark Johnson

A fun and 'fantastical' TV advert featuring food delivery app Deliveroo dispatch meals to speeding cars, outer space and even during a hurricane, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading the public.

Titled ‘Food Freedom’, the TV spot first aired in March this year, but was banned after the ASA said the advert misled the public.

What you want, where you want, when you want...

The ASA said it considered that viewers were likely to interpret the claim "Order what you want; where you want; when you want it” to be referring to the choice of food, geographical availability and choice of timing of delivery from Deliveroo.

Fact or Fiction: ASA bans 'fantastical' Deliveroo advert

“Given the absolute nature of the claim and the absence from the claim of any additional explanation, we considered they were likely to expect that those features of the service, including availability, applied throughout the UK without restriction”, the advertising body said. 

The ASA added that it acknowledged the appearance of the qualification “Some restrictions apply, obviously”; the use of settings that would be seen as fantastical; and the ability for consumers to check whether or not Deliveroo delivered in their area before placing an order. 

'Clearly fantastical"

However, the ASA said it considered the very clearly fantastical nature of the settings – for example, in space and a car chase – was likely to lead viewers to interpret the qualification to mean that the restrictions applied to places where it would be ridiculous to expect to be able to access the service, rather than that there were certain areas of the country that were excluded. 

“We therefore considered the qualification in this context was not sufficient to correct a claim that was worded so absolutely and that neither the qualification nor the use of fantastical settings was sufficient to alter understanding of the claim. 

“Given the expectation set up by the ad, we considered it was not sufficient to make consumers aware they would need to check for availability in their area. 

“Because we considered the ad suggested delivery was unrestricted throughout the UK when that was not the case, we concluded that it was likely to mislead.  

The regulatory body said it had advised Deliveroo that the ad must not appear again in the form complained of. “We told Roofoods t/a Deliveroo to ensure their ads did not claim or imply that delivery was unrestricted throughout the UK unless that was the case.”

Deliveroo's tongue-in-cheek response  

Deliveroo seized on the ASA ruling to see the positive side of its TV spot being banned and maintained the light-hearted intentions of the advert.  

“We know some people will be disappointed to hear that Deliveroo can’t yet deliver to outer space and is still to reach some parts of the UK", a spokesperosn for the firm said.

"We are, however, excited to be expanding rapidly across the UK and reaching more customers than ever before.

“Deliveroo designed a playful and humorous advert to show that, through our service, people are able to order food to a wide range of places for a range of occasions.

"The company took steps to make sure this wasn't misleading, including by stating that restrictions apply and by having the advert cleared by specialists."

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