In April of last year, Burger King announced a new ad campaign for its first plant-based burger. The burger itself was launched at the beginning of the year and was promoted in a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook.
Unfortunately, the new ad campaign in April was banned by advertising watchdogs in the United Kingdom because the ad implied the burger was safe for consumption for vegetarians and vegans when, in fact, it was not.
Regulators in the United Kingdom found out that the Patty of the plant-based burger was soy-based, however, it was cooked on the same grill as the meat and egg-based food products. This made it unsuitable for many non-meat eaters.
When this information was made public by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK, Burger King released a response.
In that response, the chain explained that there was relevant information in the “small print” of the ads, about how the plant-based burger would not be suitable for all vegans and vegetarians, because of the way it was cooked.
However, the UK regulators stated that many members of the public would have assumed from all of the social media ads that the burger didn’t contain any sort of animal products which was misleading.
That’s why the ad was banned in the first place because according to the regulators, the information in the small print wasn’t noticeable enough for people to understand whether the burgers were suitable for vegans and vegetarians or not.
The entire situation stemmed from the fact that the overall impression of the ad was misleading, despite the additional information available in the small print.
Although the new ad campaign was strictly meant for social media platforms, it shows how important social platforms have become when it comes to brands, corporations, as well as other PR communicators in connecting with the target audiences, and quickly getting out their messages.
Social media is a tool that’s especially important during a PR crisis because it’s become the fastest and most efficient way for brands and corporations to deliver necessary statements to audiences.
They’ve become even more critical during the last year, with remote working and learning environments heavily relying on various digital tools, including social media platforms in communicating on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, the new addition to Burger King’s menu didn’t end its controversial debut there, as when it was introduced in locations around the United States, many consumers started speaking out about it.
In fact, the plant-based burger even ended up bringing the fast-food chain into a class-action lawsuit due to the lack of visible information.
A vegan customer had ordered the plant-based burger after it was introduced on the menu of a Burger King location in Atlanta, assuming that it would be suitable for their diet.
Unfortunately, the consumer quickly became disappointed and started a class-action lawsuit arguing that the chain never explained how the new menu item was being cooked.
This is a situation that many companies can learn from, especially on the importance of disclosing vital information and avoiding keeping consumers in the dark. Otherwise, they might end up having issues with regulators, or consumers.