A misleading Deliveroo advert has been banned because it implies you can order food from multiple restaurants in one go.
The popular food delivery service is well known across the UK thanks to the blue jacket-wearing, box-carrying cyclists often seen making their way through the streets, but like many companies Deliveroo also relies on television advertising to help attract new customers.
However, one of its recent adverts has been branded as ‘fake news’ because it presents a service customers don’t actually have access to.
Check out the advert below:
On the off-chance you’ve never indulged in a Deliveroo order and you’re somehow unfamiliar with the concept, allow me to explain: the company is built on the idea of offering restaurant food in the comfort of your own home, though obviously this isn’t a new idea.
Many takeaway restaurants offer home delivery, but Deliveroo has broadened the horizons of foodies everywhere by delivering food from a huge number of restaurants which, in a pre-Deliveroo era, only offered an eat-in service.
Thanks to the company and its army of bicycle-armed delivery workers, customers can treat themselves to food from GBK, Pizza Express, Barburrito, Taco Bell, Wagamama, Krispy Kreme… basically any cuisine you could possibly want.
However, there is a catch – you can only order food from one restaurant at a time. The Deliveroo workers have to go and collect your order from the restaurant before bringing it to your door, so there’s no time for them to go on a wild goose chase around various stores to fill an extravagant order.
It’s a fair arrangement, but one that’s not made clear in Deliveroo’s recent advert, which suggests customers can pick and choose dishes from a number of different locations.
The ad, screened throughout September and October, shows a woman collecting a single brown paper bag from a Deliveroo delivery man before taking it into another room, where she’s met with numerous hungry people.
The woman starts handing out the dishes, digging into the bag for ‘Chinese, KFC, Wagamama, Greek salad…’ as well as Burger King, Five Guys, a korma curry, prawn crackers and wings.
The ad reveals ‘all your favourite dishes’ are now available through the company, though the scene doesn’t make clear the kind of order made in the ad wouldn’t actually be possible. In reality, the food could only come from one restaurant.
Deliveroo used on-screen text to clarify the restrictions, as a line at the bottom of the ad read ‘Geographical restrictions apply. Separate orders must be made for each restaurant’, however that apparently wasn’t good enough for viewers.
Is there owt worse than that Deliveroo advert doing the rounds at the moment? Ye cannit even have two different restaurant's on the same order, let alone every establishment under the sun that it suggests
— Will (@willnufc) November 9, 2019
I hate that deliveroo advert passionately. The way it misleads people that they could order scran from about 8 different places then have it delivered all in one whilst all remaining hot
— Andy (@AndyPower98) November 12, 2019
This Deliveroo advert is so misleading cause we all know you can’t order from different places at once 😒
— Enoma🤘🏾 (@RaeOfSun_x) October 3, 2019
Watchdogs received 300 complaints about the advert from angry viewers pointing out the error, making it the third most complained about ad of 2019 so far behind a Go Compare ad and a poster advertising Cheltenham Fireworks featuring a dog wearing ear defenders.
The complaints were upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the ad was found to be in breach of rules regarding misleading advertising and qualification as viewers may not have realised each restaurant would need a separate order, each incurring a delivery fee, before each meal would then be delivered separately.
As a result, the advert was banned by the ASA. Deliveroo was also ordered not to misleadingly omit material information about delivery charges.
Roofoods, Deliveroo’s parent company, fought against the complaints as it claimed as the action unfolded in the advert it became clear it was not set in an ordinary household and that it was not showing an ordinary Deliveroo order.
How misleading is the @Deliveroo advert 😂😂 you forgot to mention the delivery charge & minimum order price & also that you wont get them all delivered like that.
— KT (@KTweedx) September 20, 2019
Deliveroo also pointed out the ‘magic’ paper bag seen on TV produced many more meals than could be contained in an ordinary bag and said the idea of magic was reinforced when the woman was able to dive into the bag and disappear from view.
The company said the magic bag motif ‘drew on the classic pulling-a-rabbit-from-a-hat magic trick, which further underscored the whimsical and fantastical nature’ of the scene.
In a statement, Deliveroo explained:
This advert underlined the huge choice of great restaurants available on Deliveroo. This is growing each day.
For the record, you can’t actually dive into your Deliveroo bag, however hungry you are!
Deliveroo offered to include additional on-screen text to clarify the nature of their service but ASA declined its attempts to remedy the situation.
An ASA spokesperson explained:
We considered that while viewers might appreciate that it was impractical for an order as large and diverse as the one shown in the ad to be delivered in a single delivery, the ad nevertheless implied that Deliveroo customers could order food from different restaurants to be delivered together.
The ad made no reference to the cost of delivery and in the absence of any claim that delivery was free we considered viewers would assume that delivery charges were likely to apply.
While we acknowledged Deliveroo’s willingness to include additional on-screen text to clarify the nature of their service, we considered such text was unlikely to be sufficient to alter the overall impression that their customers could order food from different restaurants to be delivered together.
Because that was not the case, and because the ad did not state that a delivery charge would be applied to each order from a different restaurant, we concluded it was likely to mislead.
The advert is no longer allowed to be broadcast again in its current form.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.