Heinz Beanz Can Song ad still 2016

A TV commercial for Heinz Beanz has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority following concerns it was a health & safety hazard.

The clip, which made its small screen debut in late August, included several scenes in which youngsters, teenagers and adults used empty and full tins of Baked Beanz to drum out a rhythm. Towards the end, an on-screen entreaty read: “Learn the #CanSong”.

The ad drew several complaints that it encouraged unsafe practice and featured behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate.

Kraft Heinz responded by insisting the cans were tapped only on their sealed top, bottom or sides, and all surfaces were safe to touch. The advert did not depict movements that involved placing a hand or fingers inside the can. Also, consumers had created their own versions of Can Song and uploaded them onto social media sites, which was evidence that copying the actors’ performance was not prejudicial to health & safety.

The supplier added the promotional drive for Beanz included online instructions on preparing a can, stating it needed to be empty and clean and recommending applying tape to the inside of the open end. All cans featured in the ad had been taped.

Nevertheless, the ASA upheld the complaint, saying it was not always clear in the ad that the open cans were taped, particularly given the speed at which the song was performed. Consumers were unlikely to be as skilled as the actors, meaning a mistake was possible, leading to a hand or fingers being inserted into a tin with the chance of injury. Plus, the commercial did not include instructions to ensure a can was made safe before attempting to learn the piece.

The ASA went on to note the promotional clip was likely to have appeal to a wide age range, including children, who would seek to recreate the Can Song. There was a health and safety risk in doing so, particularly if a child was to attempt to play the piece with an empty tin without adult supervision.

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form, the ads adjudicator ruled. Kraft Heinz was told to ensure future ads did not “condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health & safety”, including behaviour that could be dangerous for youngsters to emulate.

Kraft Heinz responsed to the ruling by insisting the ad “did not pose any safety risk”. A spokesman for the supplier said: “Although we acknowledge the ASA decision, the TV campaign is over and we have no plans to run it again.”