ASA bans Burger King's social media ads promoting 'Rebel Whopper'

Josh Peachey's picture

An ad campaign for Burger King's first plant-based burger, which the fast-food chain released to coincide with Veganuary this year, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The 'Rebel Whopper' burger was released in January, amid criticism that due to the way it was cooked, it wasn't actually suitable for non-meat eaters.

The soy-based burger was cooked on the same grill as meat. To combat this, Burger King said that the new burger was aimed at people who eat meat but are reducing their intake of animal products. 

The ASA received 10 complaints about three social media ads, and it determined that describing the product as “100% Whopper. No beef” and a “plant-based burger” were misleading.

The ASA said the public would have assumed from the social media ads that the burger did not contain beef or other animal products.

The determined presumption by consumers was that it was suitable for vegetarians and vegans, due to the presence of the Vegetarian Butcher logo, a green colour palette and the timing of the launch during Veganuary.

There was no warning about the presence of egg mayonnaise - something that the company revealed after launch would be included in the product, but could be taken out 'if requested'.

“We concluded that the ads were misleading,” the ASA said. “The ads must not appear again in their current form.”