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Complaint over "life-threatening" activity in TV ad

A viewer complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, saying the TV commercial depicted dangerous activities without sufficient warnings.

A small disclaimer showed on the original advert said "Never BBQ in a vehicle, it is stupid and impairs your ability to be alive".

The voiceover for the advertisement said: "You can't BBQ everywhere this summer, but you can BK BBQ". At the end of the advert the people are eating Burger King burgers on the beach.

The viewer who complained said the advert did not convey the the life-threatening risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.

"I strongly think that this advertisement is not compliant with the code as it includes three individuals cooking on a bbq inside a closed vehicle that is full of smoke and thus depicts incredibly unsafe behaviour.

"While the advertisement does include a brief warning in small white text that viewers should never cook inside a car, the ad does not convey the seriousness of the life-threatening risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Those in the smoke-filled car would certainly have needed treatment at hospital rather than suffering no consequences from their unsafe behaviour as depicted in the ad."

Two men died of carbon monoxide poisoning near Raglan in 2008 after using a charcoal barbecue inside a cabin.

The following year three Taumarunui children found their parents dead after they used a patio-style gas heater in their bedroom.

A Christchurch family was lucky to be alive in 2016, spending time in decompression chambers at Christchurch Hospital, after the youngest of the children lost consciousness and had a seizure.

And a West Auckland family was poisoned by carbon monoxide in their home after a petrol generator filled their under-construction Massey house with the colourless, odourless and tasteless fumes from the gas in 2012.

The authority settled the complaint without it going to the complaints board, noting Burger King had made changes to the advert and added a clearer safety message.

"The Chair noted the Complainants' concerns the advertisement depicted unsafe behaviour, which is potentially life threatening," said its decision.

"The Chair acknowledged the advertiser had made changes to the television advertisement and added a clearer safety message.

"Given the advertiser's co-operative engagement with the process and the self-regulatory action taken in amending the advertisement, the Chair said that it would serve no further purpose to place the matter before the Complaints Board. "

Burger King has been approached for comment.

The full decision can be found here.

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