Can Song Canned Following Health & Safety Concerns

Heinz’s Can Song ad has been banned from airing on UK television, due to concerns over it’s potential to incite “dangerous behaviour.”


ASA, the Advertising Standards Agency, decided on November 23rd that errors and mistakes made by people attempting to recreate the song posed too greater risk for the public, and subsequently banned the advert. Following a staggering amount of complaints – a whole 3 people who believed it promoted unsafe practise and 6 who believed it encouraged dangerous behaviour  for children to copy – the agency said it would be “unlikely that the consumers would be as proficient as the actors” at throwing a tin can about.

Social media users were quick to respond – and ridicule – the decision taken by ASA.

For good measure, ASA made sure Heinz wouldn’t put the public at such risk again by stating:

“We told Heinz to ensure that future ads did not condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health and safety, including behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate, for example by featuring open tin cans being used to play music.”

Heinz responded with a statement, understandably not sharing the same views as ASA. They believe “this popular ad did not pose any safety risk and many fans were inspired to create their own video versions.” They did, however, at least try and encourage user-safety, as shown in their instruction video, available on their youtube and all social media profiles.

Many baked bean enthusiasts did take to the web to show off their new favourite extreme sport of tin tapping – a quick youtube search of the ‘heinz can song challenge’ showed over 11,000 results. One user, Christina Rotondo, had at the time of writing close to 60,000 views on her challenge.

That’s 60,000 potentially young and easily influenced viewers who could lose a finger attempting to recreate their idol. Luckily, following instructions given to avid can clappers via the Heinz website, Christina taped up any sharp edges – crisis averted.

Similarly, uber-successful youtuber Dodie Clark, better known on the interwebs as doddleoddle, took the decision to tape up her can in her recreation. However, countless other users, such as Kyrajade and Mystical Sheep, failed to tape up their tin cylinders. Such negligence meant thousands of viewers were exposed to the real dangers of the can song – understandably ASA had to take action.

Following the ruling, the Health and Safety Executive also put out a statement. While careful to not contradict ASA’s decision, Chairman Martin Temple said “it does look like the term health and safety has been used incorrectly here.”

Temple also assessed the role of parental control in the well-being of children who have attempted to recreate the tune:

“One thing kids never lack is imagination to invent their own games with the simplest of props. Obviously if a child is playing with a jagged edge on a tin container there is a risk of injury, but we would hope parents manage that risk.”

Maybe in Heinzsight, the saucy giant will think again before making such unbeanlievable ads in the future and avoid getting the can (iCov formally apologise for making you read that).

So what do you think of the great can-ban debate? Head to our twitter and facebook to weigh-in on the discussion.
Holly McLaren

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