If you spent this summer in England, either as a resident or a long-term visitor, you had a lot to keep you busy. There was the lingering fanfare (and deeply discounted tea towels) leftover from the Royal Wedding, England’s unexpectedly strong showing in the World Cup, and a hot, dry spell that made going outside seem almost inviting.
Despite all of that—and everything else that happens between the summer bank holidays—two people still had nothing better to do than to complain about a Costa Coffee radio ad. According to The Guardian, the commercial was broadcast in June, and jokingly suggested that bacon sandwiches were a “better deal” than relying on a too-ripe avocado for breakfast.
“There’s a great deal on ripen-at-home avocados,” the voiceover said. “Sure, they’ll be hard as rock for the first 18 days, three hours and 20 minutes, then they’ll be ready to eat, for about 10 minutes, then they’ll go off.” It then suggested that it might be easier to get a bacon roll or egg muffin at your closest Costa location.
But that mostly harmless advice was TOO MUCH for two people whose other hobbies probably include asking to speak to a manager and banging on the walls whenever their next-door neighbors speak above a whisper. Those two superstars complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), because they said that Costa’s ad “discouraged consumers from selecting fresh fruit.”
Costa essentially said the hell it does. The chain said that the ad was just a joke about the “unfortunate issue of ripening” avocados and, Jesus Christ, it’s just an ad for a breakfast special. (MUNCHIES has reached out to Costa Coffee for further comment but has not yet received a response.)
The ASA ruled in favor of those two deeply offended individuals. Despite being humorous in tone, the ad “nevertheless suggested avocados were a poor breakfast choice, and that a bacon roll or egg muffin would be a better alternative.” (The United Kingdom’s code of broadcast advertising does prohibit any ad that suggests non-fruits or vegetables are healthier choices than actual fruit-and-veg.) In addition, the ad cannot air again.
Although this is a decidedly stupid controversy, it is heartening that most people understand that it’s decidedly stupid. “I was going to have avocado for breakfast that very morning, but when I heard the Costa ad, I went and got a bacon and sausage [sandwich],” one BBC commenter wrote. “Now I'm morbidly obese and have been told I have less than a week to live.”
Be careful advertisers. Those two people are still out there—jaws set, teeth clenched, and foreheads scrunched—and they’re just waiting to be offended again.