Heinz Beans #CanSong advert banned over health and safety risk

  • This longer online version of the advert does include safety instructions

A Heinz Beans advert has been banned for encouraging behaviour that risks health and safety.

The advert teaches viewers how to use an empty can to drum out the rhythm of a tune with the catchline "Learn the #CanSong", but the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned it due to "the associated risk of cuts".

Nine viewers of the advert complained that the advert encouraged "unsafe practice" and six believed it featured behaviour that could be dangerous for children to copy.

Heinz responded that the advert showed people tapping the can on "safe" surfaces - its sealed top, bottom, or sides - and did not show anyone putting their hands or fingers inside the can.

The food processing company added that consumers had uploaded their own versions of the song onto social media sites, "which was evidence that copying the ad was not prejudicial to their health or safety".

However, the ASA said consumers were "unlikely to be as proficient as the actors" at flipping and twirling the can around.

It added: "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".

The ASA 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, and as such they "concluded that the ad condoned and encouraged behaviour that prejudiced health or safety."

It ruled that the advert must not be broadcast again in its current form.

In response to the ruling, a spokesperson to Heinz 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 taping 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."