London Daily

Focus on the big picture.
Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022

Two vegan adverts banned because they were 'misleading' and 'distressing'

Two vegan adverts banned because they were 'misleading' and 'distressing'

An advert for Vegan Friendly UK and one for Tesco's plant based burgers were both banned by the Advertising Standards Agency amid claims of gratuitous violence and misleading claims.

Two vegan adverts have been banned by the advertising watchdog, amid claims they were misleading and "distressing".

A TV advert for the organisation Vegan Friendly UK drew complaints about its use of graphic images of animals in distress which played alongside people eating.

The ad, seen in March, showed two women and one man around a table juxtaposed with clips of a fish head which was still gasping for air, a live piglet alongside a pig with its eyes closed and a cow which appeared to have tears coming from its eye.

A further clip showed a cow's skinned head with its eyes and teeth still present lying on its side.

As those at the table continued to eat, the advert stated: "No animal was harmed, consumed, or purchased to make this advert," followed by the text: "Make the connection."

The Advertising Standards Authority received 63 complaints, including that the ad contained gratuitous violence towards animals which caused unnecessary distress to viewers.

However, Vegan Friendly UK said the clips used in the ad did not portray actions of violence or harm and that such imagery was seen regularly in butchers' or fishmongers' windows on the average UK high street.

They clarified that the aim of the ad was to encourage meat eaters who were against animal cruelty to reconsider their actions, adding that they believed that their ad did not vilify meat eaters.

The ad was given a restriction preventing it from being transmitted in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to children under 16.

But the ASA ruled this was not enough and that it must not appear again as it was "not suitable for broadcast on TV regardless of scheduling restrictions".

Adverts for Tesco's Plant Chef burgers were also cited

Meanwhile, adverts for Tesco's Plant Chef burgers were also taken off air over "misleading" claims that the products could make a positive difference to the environment, compared with their meat equivalents.

The TV, video on demand, radio, press, Twitter and website ads in October and November featured a woman about to eat a burger while hearing the words on television: "The planet is continuing to warm," after which a voice-over said: "Now that's not what Zoe likes to hear, but she's gonna roll up her sleeves and do her bit... and there it is, a delicious Tesco Plant Chef burger.

"We've lowered the price of dozens of our Plant Chef products because a little swap can make a difference to the planet."

But the ad attracted 171 complaints from viewers.

'No evidence of claims'

The supermarket giant said the wording "little" played an important part in determining the breadth of the claims, adding that they were not claiming that the products were sustainable or good in and of themselves, but that by eating plant-based products as opposed to meat-based, consumers could make a small or "little" difference.

However, the ASA ruled that "Tesco did not hold any evidence in relation to the full lifecycle of any of the products in the Plant Chef range, or of the burger featured in the ads. We were, therefore, unable to assess the product's total environmental impact over its life cycle compared with that of a meat burger".

The ASA ruled the Vegan Friendly UK advert caused unnecessary distress to viewers

Separately, the ASA found that a radio and TV ad for Sainsbury's that promoted the general benefits to the environment of reducing meat protein in substitution for plant protein was not misleading.

A Tesco spokesman said: "We offer hundreds of plant-based options and while we are disappointed by this outcome, our customers can continue to count on us to help them enjoy a better balanced diet with plenty more delicious and affordable plant-based products in the pipeline."


Related Articles

London Daily