Pizza giants' ice-cream spat

19 December 2017 - 17:20 By Wendy Knowler
The restaurant offers an everyday pizza.
The restaurant offers an everyday pizza.
Image: Supplied

We South Africans persist in referring to products which don’t have a scrap of dairy in them - much less expensive cream - as “ice cream”‚ probably because the term “frozen dessert” doesn’t have nearly as much appeal.

Roman’s Pizza can be thankful for that‚ because it’s for that reason that quick-service-restaurant giant Famous Brands’ complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about its current promo offer was dismissed.

Famous Brands - which counts Debonairs among its many famous South African brands - complained to the ASA about Roman’s Pizza’s current online‚ TV and billboard offer of two large pizzas‚ a 2-litre Coke and “6x Ola Ice Creams” for R189‚90.

The company took issue with the use of the word “ice creams”‚ arguing that the six-pack contains two orange-flavoured ices‚ two vanilla-flavoured frozen desserts in a caramel coating and two vanilla flavoured ice-creams in dark chocolate‚ arguing that according to regulations‚ the collective name "edible ices” is used to describe a mix of frozen desserts‚ and that the non-dairy ones are far cheaper.

In a 45-page response‚ Roman’s Pizza’s attorneys argued‚ among other things‚ that it’s not within the ASA’s mandate to consider the regulations‚ and that for South Africans‚ “ice-cream" is in fact a collective term for ice desserts.

Their response also pointed out that the advert did not mention the value of those ice desserts.

In a ruling published this week‚ the ASA Directorate said while it was true that the term “ice creams” is misleading when used to describe a collection of frozen desserts in some situations‚ in this case‚ it was “not convinced”.

“While two wrongs don’t make a right‚ the use of the word ‘ice-cream’ in the market place is indicative of what consumers have come to expect.

“(We) accept that South African consumers have come to regard the word "ice cream” as a colloquial collective noun for frozen desserts.

“The hypothetical reasonable consumer viewing the advertising would understand that they were getting a "mix” of desserts‚ and that the desserts in question are not necessarily dairy products‚ but rather a mixture of ice-cream and ice lollies.”

And so the directorate found that the promo offer is not misleading‚ and noted that it had received no consumer complaints about it since it was first introduced on November 20.

For the record‚ there’s also no cream in commercially made Lemon Creams.