AN ADVERTISING watchdog has banned Bradford-based Morrisons from airing a TV commercial for burgers after viewers complained it promoted unhealthy living.

The supermarket chain, whose Ultimate Brisket Burger was earlier this year rated the best in England, has been told by the Advertising Standards Agency to ensure future ads did not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle, especially in children.

Morrisons said it was disappointed by the ruling.

The advert showed a mother preparing a burger for her daughter. She stacked lettuce, tomato and onion on top of the burger but the girl then removed these, putting it on the side of her plate, before putting the top of the bun on the burger. The voice-over stated "Love quarter-pounders. Love them cheaper" and showed shots of burgers.

Eleven viewers challenged whether the advert condoned or encouraged poor nutritional habits, an unhealthy lifestyle or disparaged a good dietary practice, especially in children.

Advertising organisation Clearcast responded on behalf of the company, saying it had paid particular attention to the advertising code.

It said the girl did not look disdainfully at the salad items or make a face that implied she did not like them or would not eat them in the future. Because of the way the girl removed the salad, which was to make eating her burger easier, it had concluded that it was perfectly feasible that she would return to it later.

However, the ASA said: "We noted the girl grabbed all the salad in her hand and dropped it on the side in a careless manner, before placing her hands around the bun, ready to eat and smiling, which we considered suggested she was not going to eat the salad later.

"Because we considered the ad placed an emphasis on the burger being the preferable option to the salad, we concluded it condoned poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle, especially in children, and that it disparaged good dietary practice."

The ASA ruled that the advert must not be broadcast again in its current form.

A Morrisons spokesman said: “Trying to convince children to eat their fruit and vegetables is something that most parents will identify with. Our aim with the ad was to reflect this in a humorous and engaging way. We’re disappointed with the ASA’s adjudication.”