Food-delivery service's TV ad banned for being 'likely to mislead'

An advertisement for a food-delivery service which shows an astronaut receiving his order on the moon, and an escaped convict getting pizza delivered after tunneling free from prison, has been banned on the grounds that it’s “likely to mislead.”

The ad, from Deliveroo, first aired on television in March, featuring a voiceover that suggested customers would be able to order “what you want, where you want, when you want.”

The ad, however, included on-screen text reading, “some restrictions apply, obviously.”

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Despite this, the Advertising Standards Authority of the United Kingdom (ASA) received 22 complaints — but not from astronauts or escaped convicts. Rather, the complaints came from U.K. residents “who understood that Deliveroo did not deliver to their areas” and considered the ad misleading.

Roofoods, the parent company of Deliveroo, argued that its on-screen message (“some restrictions apply, obviously”) should have made it clear that not all locations in the U.K. were covered, but the ASA ruled that the “absolute nature” of the ad’s claim “suggested delivery was unrestricted throughout the U.K.”

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“We considered the very clearly fantastical nature of the settings – for example, in space and a car chase – was likely to lead viewers to interpret the qualification to mean that the restrictions applied to places where it would be ridiculous to expect to be able to access the service, rather than that there were certain areas of the country that were excluded,” the ASA wrote.

As per the ASA, Deliveroo can no longer show the ad “in the form complained of,” although the ad appears to still be live on its YouTube channel. (It’s unclear if it has been modified from its original form.)

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A spokesperson for Deliveroo was not immediately available to comment, but the company did respond to the ruling in a statement shared with the BBC.

“Deliveroo designed a playful advert to show that, through our service, people are able to order food to a wide range of places, whether home or work, for a range of occasions,” the statement read. “We know some will be disappointed that their local area isn’t currently served by Deliveroo, but we are expanding rapidly across the UK.”


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