What‚ no avocado? ASA rules that food advert was misleading
What you see advertised in a photograph is not always what you get after ordering a meal. And in the case of James Lea it was the avocado – or guacamole – that was missing from his chicken burrito in Durban.
Lea lodged a consumer complaint over a pamphlet promoting a combo meal consisting of potato chips‚ a soft drink and chicken burrito from a Mochachos franchise in Overport‚ Durban.
The burrito was depicted as a tortilla filled with grated cheese‚ chicken strips‚ green peppers‚ onion‚ and avocado (or guacamole).
“Upon receiving his order‚ he realised that there was no avocado in the burrito. He enquired about lack of the avocado in the burrito and he was informed that the avocado was sold separately as an extra‚” said a ruling handed down by the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) on Wednesday.
A store manager apologised for the misunderstanding. Lea commended the store for its apology but maintained the pamphlet was misleading and lodged a complaint.
Mochachos Franchise Management conducts a franchising operation under the name "Mochachos Chicken Villages”. Each outlet is run as an independent business‚ owned by each franchisee.
As franchisor‚ it argued‚ it could not be held liable for the actions of franchisees but added it had established the issue was “duly dealt with” and that Lea “left the store fully satisfied”.
Mochachos also pointed out‚ in its response‚ that it was not a member of the ASA.
The crux of the issue was to determine whether the advert was misleading.
The ASA found that there was “nothing in the advertisement that informs customers that the avocado comes as an extra on the advertised price. Consumers would be misled into believing that they will get what is depicted in the advertisement.”
Accordingly‚ the complaint was upheld and the ASA recommended that the advert be withdrawn. It also urged members of the ASA not to accept the advert for publication.