Advertising claiming that McCain Foods makes “SA’s NO.1 CHIP” has come under fire from Steers, whose parent company Famous Brands lodged a complaint with the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB).
The ARB found that the claim was too ambiguous for consumers, as it wasn't clear whether it referred to the best quality chips, or was measured in sales.
Famous Brands contended that Steers chips had won the Leisure Options Award for the Best Chips for 16 years running. It challenged McCain to prove that its Fry Chips is “SA’s Number 1 Chip” based on quality.
The ARB found the adverts could be interpreted in several different ways because the context in which the claim “SA’s No.1 Chip” appears was not consistent throughout the advertising executions.
In one case a disclaimer referring to market share data and sales volumes on its Facebook cover photo was legible, whereas on billboard advertisements it was too small to read.
While McCain Fry Chips may be the frozen chip brand that has the highest sales when compared to other frozen chip brands in South Africa, this was not conveyed in the ads, ARB found.
“The claim on the billboard could be interpreted to refer to consumer preference rather than market share,” ARB found.
“The fact that the claim itself is not qualified with, for example, the word “frozen”, or with a legible disclaimer to that effect, and the fact that there is a large picture of a hot, cooked chip in the advertising, means that there is a real likelihood that consumers will interpret the claim to mean that McCain’s “Slap Chips”, or its “Fry Chips” (depending on which advertisement you are looking at), is the “No.1” chip in South Africa overall.”
McCain has been ordered to withdraw the advertising immediately.
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