No meat in Subway complaint

BY LOIS WATSON
Last updated 09:40 29/03/2009
YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG: A disgruntled customer complained that sandwiches in Subway ads are stacked wrong.

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On top or underneath? Does it really matter?

Yes, if you believe a disgruntled Subway customer who has complained that the fast food giant's television advertisement promoting its new Smoked Chicken Supreme with Bacon and Avocado sandwich is misleading.

"They misrepresent their sandwiches as they always show the meat on the top and the salad on the bottom but when you buy a Subway sandwich they always put the meat on first," grumbled the customer in a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Such complaints provide a steady diet of issues for the authority to chew on. Last year advertisers in New Zealand spent just over $2.3 billion, and their sales pitches prompted 671 complaints to the authority; 153 were upheld or settled, 140 were not upheld, 317 were judged as lacking grounds to proceed, and 61 were withdrawn.

Quirky cases the authority dealt with recently include:

* Tip Top's Flip to Win competition, which contained a large image of a hand-held Trumpet ice- cream with a bite taken from it, revealing a pink jelly tip centre among the ice-cream and chocolate chips. A woman complained to the authority that within the image was what could "only be described as a pink penis", which she found offensive. Her complaint was not upheld.

* A Bond + Bond newspaper advertisement published in December which called on readers to: "Celebrate the birth of Jesus with some new gear. It's what he'd want." A complaint to the authority claimed the ad was likely to cause offence to those who held religious beliefs and that it was also misleading. "Where is the evidence of Jesus' genuine and current testimonial to support his wish for us all to acquire 'new gear' from Bond and Bond?", the complainant queried. The complaint was not upheld.

* A newspaper advertisement for the Big Boys Toys show headed: "If you've ever adjusted yourself just because it felt good, you're gonna love this." The illustration was of a man holding the edge of the top of his underpants. The authority decided that while it was "somewhat in poor taste", it was saved by its irreverent humour and unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Back now to the weighty issue of Subway's sandwiches.

After careful consideration the authority decided that although the advertisement did show the ingredients in the sandwich in a particular order, the issue was "not of sufficient merit" to make the advertisement misleading. Furthermore it said that as Subway's sandwiches were made to order as per customer requests and preferences, the issue could have been resolved at the time.

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Food for thought.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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