Heinz baked beans advert banned over health and safety fears

Watchdog outlaws "#CanSong" ad for safety reasons after just 15 complaints, saying children could cut themselves if they copy it

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The Independent Online

A Heinz baked beans advert which sought to teach viewers how to bang the can like a drum has been banned over fears people might cut their hands.

The commercial showed people drumming on Heinz Beanz tins to play the rhythm of a song with the strapline "Learn the #CanSong".

Nine viewers lodged complaints with the Advertising Standards Agency that the advert encouraged "unsafe practice" while six believed it could be dangerous for children to emulate.

Heinz said it had posted video tutorials showing people how to safely drum on a bean tin and that advert only showed people tapping on "safe" surfaces, meaning the top, bottom or sides fo a sealed tin. At no point does it show anyone putting their hand or fingers inside the can, the company pointed out.

But the ASA said viewers were unlikely to be as proficient as the actors at flipping and twirling the can, adding: “The ad condoned and encouraged behaviour that prejudiced health or safety,” 

It said that "particularly given the manoeuvres required, it might still be possible that mistakes could be made with an empty can, which might include a hand or fingers being inserted into an open tin, with the associated risk of cuts".

It banned the ad because it was "likely to condone or encourage behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate."

It said the advert itself did not include any instructions to consumers to ensure a tin can was made safe before attempting to learn the song.

The ASA ruled that the advert must not be broadcast again in its current form and ordered Heinz not to make future films featuring open tin cans being used to play music.

A Heinz spokesman said: “We believe this popular ad did not pose any safety risk and many fans were inspired to create their own video versions. Of course safety is our number one priority and our online tutorials also included tapping the can end as an extra precaution. Although we acknowledge the ASA decision the TV campaign is over and we have no plans to run it again.”

Additional reporting by PA

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