Burger King milkshake tweet ‘irresponsible'

02 October 2019 by
Burger King milkshake tweet ‘irresponsible'

A tweet by Burger King has been deemed "irresponsible" by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for encouraging people to ‘milkshake' Brexit party leader Nigel Farage.

A post on Burger King's Twitter page, seen on 18 May 2019, included the text "Dear people of Scotland. We're selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK. #justsaying"

The tweet was posted the day after a McDonald's in Edinburgh chose not to sell milkshakes or ice-cream products during a nearby political rally addressed by Farage, because milkshakes had been thrown at political figures in recent weeks. Farage was doused with a Five Guys milkshake in Newcastle two days later.

Twenty-four complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and offensive because they believed it encouraged violence and anti-social behaviour.

Burger King responded that the tweet was intended to be a tongue in cheek reaction to recent events where milkshakes had been thrown at political figures. It stated that it did not endorse violence and that was made clear with a follow-up tweet, which stated: "We'd never endorse violence – or wasting our delicious milkshakes! So enjoy the weekend and please drink responsibly people."

The spate of political figures being ‘milkshaked' had been widely reported in the media so the ASA considered that people who saw the tweet were likely to be aware of what had happened and that Farage was due to make more public appearances in Scotland that weekend.

Although it acknowledged that the tweet may have been intended as a humorous response to the suspension of milkshake sales by the advertiser's competitor, in the context in which it appeared we considered it would be understood as suggesting that Burger King milkshakes could be used instead by people to ‘milkshake' Nigel Farage, condoned the previous anti-social behaviour and encouraged further instances.

The ASA therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible, banned it from appearing again in its current form and told Burger King to ensure that its future marketing communications did not condone or encourage anti-social behaviour.

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