Birds Eye pulls advert showing Captain jumping into the sea amid water safety concerns

Updated: Sep 20


The Evening Standard reports: Birds Eye was forced to drop a fish finger advert after concerns raised by cold water swimming campaigners.

The frozen food giant ran a TV advert showing a man and boy jumping into the sea to a voiceover that said: “Captain Birds Eye loves the simple things, like jumping into cold water on a hot day with his grandson.”


But a campaign group set up after a 14-year-old boy died from cold water shock claimed the advert was inappropriate. The firm took the advert off air and agreed to amend the voice over. Cameron Gosling, from Cook, died in July 2015 from after going swimming with his friends in the River Wear.

While his friends paddled in the river and acclimatised their bodies, Cameron jumped in. The cold water shocked his body and, despite his friends trying to save him, he died.


The teenager’s family and Durham County Council later launched the Dying to be Cool campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in cold water.

His mother, Fiona, contacted the company to say she was “shocked” when she saw the advert. She added: “It seemed as though Birds Eye hadn’t done its research before making it but I’m grateful that they agreed to change the advert and at how quickly they acted.” And the council also called on the firm for the advert to be changed.


A letter written by written by Jane Robinson, chair of Durham City Safety Group, and Kevin Lough, chair of Durham Open Water Safety Group, said: “Jumping into water can result in cold water shock which is a major factor in drownings.

“Most waters in the UK are of a temperature which would induce cold water shock all year round. “Durham City Safety Group and Durham Open Water Safety Group therefore ask that you do not continue to suggest jumping into cold water on a hot day is safe. “This behavior is not a ‘simple thing’, it leads to many fatalities and we ask that you reconsider this messaging.”


A spokesman for the firm said: “At Birds Eye, we take our advertising responsibilities very seriously and we were grateful to be made aware of this issue.


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