This vegan ad deemed unsustainable receives 63 complaints

Enjoy your meal.

The NGO’s latest campaign vegan-friendly controversial in the UK. His appetizing spot – aimed at persuading viewers to go vegan – has already received… 63 complaints.

What is the problem? In this campaign called “Make The Connection”, Vegan Friendly features 3 people in the middle of a meal, discussing the devastation that humans are causing to the planet. Well, this conversation wouldn’t have been a problem if our three protagonists weren’t eating…meat. Their tasting of a fish, a pork with caramel or a burger, are interspersed with images… of animals – but not just any: shredded fish, dying pig, slaughterhouse animals, or even raw meat cut out. The meal of the threehypocrites” continues. As the images of suffering animals accelerate, and their cries escalate, slow-motion close-ups of human mouths are accompanied by chewing noises that amplify. In short, it’s a real ordeal.

The campaign obviously bothers the British. The unpleasant noises mixed with the sometimes violent images of animals in distress are unbearable to watch, and that’s the point. Through this campaign, Vegan Friendly clearly wanted to shock consumers, so that they question their consumption patterns. Vegan Friendly calls on them to make the link between animal suffering and their consumption of meat and fish with the slogan “Make the Connection” at the end of the spot.

Faced with 63 complaints filed, the ASA – the British audiovisual standards authority equivalent to the ARPP in France – decided to ban advertising during programs aimed at children under 16 years of age. The complaints filed attack in particular the “unnecessary distress” caused to viewers in the face of this “gratuitous animal abuse”as well as the defamation caused to meat eaters.

For its part, the association defends itself by recalling firstly that its objective is above all to highlight the hypocrisy shown by these people who discuss the impact of the climate crisis on animals, while eating meat. It is therefore a question here of encouraging a change in behavior, and not of pointing the finger at the meat-eaters.

Next, Vegan Friendly explains that the animal images in the spot were selected from archives, and therefore, “that no animal was harmed, consumed or purchased to make this announcement”. The NGO adds – again with a certain sarcasm – that these images do not show any act of violence or harm, since you can see the same thing when going to the butcher for example. They would therefore only be there to remind people of the repercussions of certain behaviours.

Besides, Clearcast – the organization that helps advertisers and agencies ensure their campaigns will adhere to ASA restrictions – told the association that “although blood could be seen in the ad, the fish clips had been filmed in the context of preparation for consumption. This style of imagery was similar to what one would expect to see in markets, butchers and fishmongers” and therefore would not be a problem.

Finally, the association denies having targeted children’s programs, or content related to food and wildlife, in order to broadcast its advertising.

This is not the first time that this style of vegan campaign has been controversial. The association PETA frequently demonstrates this kind of “censorship”, while communicating abundantly about it. This was recently the case for their Mother’s Day poster campaign, for example.

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