Banging on Bean Cans Can Be Risky, Warns UK Regulators

By Mike Pomranz |
Heinz Beans Song

© Getty Images

According to a British regulatory group, using baked beans to make music can be a risky endeavor – and no, we’re not talking about some tongue-in-cheek nod to the classic playground rhyme “Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit.” The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority recently reprimanded Beanz maker Heinz for an ad campaign that encourages people to use its iconic turquoise baked bean cans as a percussion instrument to play a “Can Song” – suggesting that the tune could include unintended screaming if you happen to slice your hand on a sharp edge.

Despite being an American company, Heinz Beanz baked beans are a British staple that can be found in grocery stores and cupboards across the UK. In effort to keep beans in the forefront of Brits’ collective conscious, earlier this year, Heinz launched its “Can Song” campaign, which encouraged Beanz lovers to learn an original tune called the “Can Song” that can be accompanied by banging out the rhythm on an empty baked bean tin in a manner similar to the song “Cups” (made famous by Anna Kendrick). The video proved successful, getting nearly 2 million views one YouTube.

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In the online version of the “Can Song,” Heinz explicitly tells prospective Beanz musicians they should put tape around the potentially sharp top of the emptied can “just to be safe,” but the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – a UK advertising agency self-regulatory organization – recently questioned just how careful people would be whist banging on their cans. According to the Huffington Post, the ASA claims it received complaints from nine people who believed “the ad encouraged unsafe practices or could be dangerous for children to copy.” The ASA agreed that emulating the ad as Heinz encouraged did pose a risk of people cutting themselves, and for that reason, banned the ad from being broadcast in its current form.

Though Heinz said it doesn’t believe the ads pose any risk, the brand also suggests that the ASA’s decision is a moot point because the ad campaign, which began this summer, is already over. “Although we acknowledge the ASA decision, the TV campaign is over and we have no plans to run it again,” HuffPo quoted a Heinz UK spokesman as saying. Still, it’s good to remind children that playing with cans with sharp edges does run some risk. And while you’re on the subject, you might as well also remind your kids that if they want to use beans as a musical fruit, they should be polite and handle that business in the loo.

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