McDonald’s and Burger King ads banned for being too close to primary schools

A poster for Burger King’s Whopper Jr £2.99 meal deal. Credit: ASA/PA

Adverts for Burger King and McDonald’s have been banned after they were placed less than 100 metres from the gates of primary schools.

The McDonald’s poster for the Cadbury Flake McFlurry was seen in July at a bus stop 47 metres from the boundary of a primary school.

A poster for Burger King’s Whopper Jr £2.99 meal deal, also seen in July, featured an image of the whopper burger, fries and a zero sugar Coca-Cola and appeared at a bus stop 96 metres from a school.

McDonald’s said it had instructed outdoor advertising company JCDecaux to comply with its policy of not placing any ads for products high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) within 200 metres of a school.

It said JCDecaux was “solely responsible” for the “oversight” but accepted it was “ultimately responsible for any misplacement of the ad”.

JCDecaux said the Burger King ad had been incorrectly placed due to a “data conflict” in its booking system.

The McDonald’s poster for the Cadbury Flake McFlurry. Credit: ASA/PA

Banning both ads for being inappropriately targeted at children, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) told the companies “to ensure that they took measures in future to ensure that HFSS product ads were not directed at children under 16, including that they were not displayed in close proximity to a primary or secondary school”.

McDonald’s said: “On this occasion a mistake was made. We have shared our disappointment with JCDecaux who have apologised for the placement of the advert in question. It was removed as soon as we became aware of the mistake, and we have asked them to review procedures to ensure all possible precautions are taken to meet our voluntary standards.”

Two more ads for HFSS products – a second McDonald’s poster for its Belgian Chocolate Honeycomb Iced Frappe and a poster for Subway’s Mega Melt sandwich – were not banned because they were placed within 100 metres of a nursery and children’s centre rather than schools.

The ASA said nurseries and centres were generally attended by a smaller number of children than schools, which meant the audiences for the ads were unlikely to be significantly skewed towards under-16s.