- South Africa's advertising regulator says a Burger King ad made it look as if braais its patties the old fashioned way, and that is not true
- Steers – for which flame grilling is a point of pride – had also complained that Burger King makes it look as if it prepares its vegetables at restaurants.
- That at least is not misleading, the Advertising Regulatory Board ruled.
- For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za.
Burger King is misleading South Africans into thinking it braais its burger patties, the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) says, when in fact it cooks meat in a more industrial-style process.
In a ruling published on the weekend the ARB banned a Burger King television advertisement that shows burger patties on a grill above open flames, as part of a sequence that shows burgers being prepared – after competitor Steers complained about it.
Steers told the regulator that it really does grill its beef burgers over open flames, and this sets it apart from many other fast-food outlets – including Burger King.
See also: Burger King now serves bacon in South Africa – but dropped ‘ham’ from the names of burgers ‘to be more respectful’ of halaal clients
Steers also complained that while the Burger King ad showed fresh onions and tomatoes being sliced just before the Burger King hamburger is put together, it believed Burger King actually used pre-prepared vegetables delivered to its restaurants already cut.
But the ARB accepted Burger King's explanation that tomatoes and onions really are freshly prepared in its stores every morning, and ruled that part of the ad to not be misleading, as Steers had alleged.
On flame grilling, however, it found that Steers had a valid complaint.
Burger King, the regulator said, explained that it cooks its patties using a broiler that "consists of a ladder-type conveyor chain that transports patties over open flam gas burners. The broiler contains heating elements above the patties to aid the cooking process, that is gas operated."
See also: We tried the bacon burger for which Burger King gave up its fully-halaal status in South Africa – and we were distinctly underwhelmed
Because the meat is exposed to flame, the burger patties have the same look, texture, and flavour as other flame-grilled meat, Burger King had argued.
But the ARB was having none of it.
"The take-out of the commercial by the hypothetical reasonable consumer is clearly that the patties are 'braaied' or grilled above an open flame," it said.
"The fact that there is some contact with a flame, inside a gas broiler system, does not satisfy the expectations of open flame grilling as portrayed in the advertiser's commercial."
On that basisARB members have been ordered not to run the ad.
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