ASA throws out complaints over Morrisons Christmas TV ads

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled in favour of supermarket chain Morrisons after complaints were received against two of its TV advertisements.

The adjudications concerned two Morrisons adverts, both of which received complaints about misleading claims from members of the public.

One of the adverts, which featured a small boy surreptitiously feeding the family’s pet dog a slice of Christmas pudding from the table, received 234 complaints, including from some vets, on the grounds that it might encourage children to do similar.

Complainants said that this might cause harm to dogs as Christmas pudding can contain ingredients which are lethal to canines.

However Morrisons responded to the claims by pointing out that it had received advice from animal health experts before shooting the advert, including a vet and former president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons who was present during filming.

The ASA did not uphold the complaints stating that while there is some evidence to suggest that some of the ingredients, namely raisins and grapes, can be harmful to canines, this was only in the case of 500g to 1kg of the raw fruits being eaten by dogs.

It also emphasised that the message of the advert was that the boy should not have been feeding the Christmas pudding to the dog, which itself refuses to eat the food and was only doing so because he did not like it.

This is reinforced by a voiceover stating ‘Not everyone loves traditional Christmas pud’.

Another adjudication involving Morrisons was called for after seven complaints were received against an advert in which a woman ‘disappears’ into a tin of Quality Street chocolates.

The complaints were made by viewers who claimed that the ad was misleading about the size of the Quality Street tin on sale.

The ASA agreed with Morrisons which said that the advert was clearly meant to be “pure fantasy”, saying in its adjudication that “the scene where the actor disappeared into the tin was unlikely to be viewed as a realistic situation”.

Readers' comments (3)

  • This seems to be an extremely slanted piece of reporting. How much of Morrisons' budget is being spent on it?

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  • It is a shame that the ASA have totally disregarded the evidence from the Veterinary Poisons Unit at Guys which clearly shows that in one example an Elkhound died after injesting 4.7gms that is probably no more than a couple of grapes killing a 25kg dog!
    The ASA asked the vet (a retired political vet) that advised the company for goodness sake and seemingly ignored the hundreds of practising clinical vets who deal with these poisoning cases every week!
    Please note the doses per kilogram in this paper from the poisons unit: Raisin/sultanas: In a review of 24 cases of renal failure in dogs after ingestion raisins or sultanas where the dose could be estimated it varied from 2.8 to 36.4 g/kg. All these animals had renal failure and there was no significant difference in dose ingested between dogs that died and those that survived (Eubig et al., 2005). A Norwegian Elkhound was euthanased after ingestion of 4.7 g of raisins/kg Mazzaferro et al., 2004).
    · Grapes: A 8.2 kg dachshund developed renal failure after only 4-5 grapes; he survived with supportive care and hospitalisation for 12 days (Mazzaferro et al., 2004). Renal failure developed in another dogs after 10 to 12 grapes. In a review of 4 dogs, the quantity of grapes ingested varied from 448 to 1,344 g, which is equivalent to 19.6, 30.8, 50.4 and 148.4 g/kg (Eubig et al., 2005).

    Grapes raisins etc can be lethal to dogs in very small quantities, please do your research Grocer Magazine

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  • I don't know who gave the advice that grapes and raisins were only harmful to dogs in excess of 500g. This is factually incorrect and does not agree with current advice given by the Poisons Unit of the RCVS. As the owner of a fit and healthy 3 year old Hungarian Vizsla dog who died from acute renal failure from eating considerably less than 500g I know this to be true. It is extremely disappointing that this was not looked at more seriously

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