Costa Coffee commercial banned for bashing avocados

Avocados are no laughing matter – and a U.K. coffee chain has landed itself in hot water for suggesting otherwise.

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A radio commercial advertising Costa Coffee has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for playfully suggesting that bacon sandwiches and egg muffins were better breakfast options than avocados.

“Oh, there's a great deal on ripen-at-home avocados. 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," the radio ad spot said. "For a better deal, head to Costa Coffee and grab a delicious, piping hot bacon roll or egg muffin for just £2 ($2.60) when you buy any Medio or Massimo hot drink or flat white before 11 a.m."

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The June 27 ad quickly drew two complaints over its content, which was accused of “discouraging the selection of fresh fruit,” a breach of ASA's rule banning advertisers from “disparag[ing] good dietary practice.”

“We considered that, although the ad was light-hearted, it nevertheless suggested avocados were a poor breakfast choice, and that a bacon roll or egg muffin would be a better alternative, and in doing so discouraged the selection of avocados,” the ASA said.

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The coffee chain argued they “were not suggesting to listeners to make a definitive choice over two breakfast items, but instead suggested that they had a promotional offer to satisfy breakfast requirements.”

The brand said “their ad centered on the frustration and unpredictability of the avocado. They stated that trends had shown that the avocado had become a popular item for breakfast, but more often than not consumers had shared comical anecdotes on the unfortunate issue of ripening, as they struggled to agree on how to ripen the fruit and/or the best time to consume it," according to the complaint.

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However, ASA found the ads use of “better deal” to describe the breakfast sandwiches to be in breach of the advertising standards rules.

Costa, which is to be bought by Coca-Cola in a $5.1 billion deal, was told by the ASA to ensure “future ads did not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits” as well as pull the original ad from broadcast.