An advert for the vegan charity Viva! the depiction of a woman eating raw offal and blood from a corner-style yogurt has been banned because it is likely to cause serious and widespread offense.
The ad, which appeared on Facebook and Instagram and the Duolingo and Poki Games apps in May, showed the woman opening the product labeled “Killer Yoghurt. Scented with mother's sorrow”, to the sound of upbeat music.
A voice said, “New from Killer Yoghurts – Umbilical cord flavor. Made with only the finest ingredients, the stolen milk of grieving mothers. Taste the torture in every bite. Combined with brutality. Be complicit, with Killer Yoghurts.'
The woman was shown smiling and taking a spoonful from the corner portion of the yogurt, then with blood on her teeth, lips and dripping down her chin.
A final scene showed an indoor dairy shed filled with cows and the text: ‘Excited to tuck in? Intensive dairy farming is on the rise in the UK.'
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received seven complaints that the ad was likely to cause unnecessary distress and serious and widespread offence, and was irresponsibly targeted because it had been seen by children.
Viva! described the ad as a “parody theatrically staged” to “highlight the hypocrisy of companies claiming their farms had high welfare standards”.
The charity said viewers were “increasingly numb to shock factors such as death and violence on TV” and believed the ad was mild in comparison.
The ASA said: “While we recognized that people would understand that the ad was intended as a comment on animal welfare, we felt that the graphic and gruesome images were likely to shock and evoke a sense of disgust.”
He added: “We also considered language such as ‘the taste of the umbilical cord', ‘the stolen milk of grieving mothers.' Taste the torture in every bite. Combined with brutality. Be complicit, with Killer Yoghurts, alongside the graphic and gruesome images, it was likely to be considered frightening and distressing especially to children.'
The ASA concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offense and undue distress.
The watchdog also concluded that targeting exemptions were insufficient to keep advertising away from children.
He ruled that the ad should not be shown again, adding: “We told Viva! to ensure that future advertisements were prepared responsibly, were appropriately targeted and did not contain graphic scenes or language likely to cause undue distress to viewers.”