The recent MLA lamb ad featuring a number of historical religious figures including the Hindu god Lord Ganesha has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) following a number of complaints.
The controversial ad, titled ‘You Never Lamb Alone’, reportedly had over 200 complaints, including a number from Australia’s Hindu community who went so far as to petition the federal government to have the ad removed. Of most offence was Lord Ganesha, a vegetarian, apparently eating meat.
However, the MLA defended the ad, created by The Monkeys, saying there was nothing in the ad that promoted bigotry or religious intolerance.
“There is no express or implied connotation during the advertisement that religion is not accepted or acceptable, or that the dietary requirements or preferences of any particular religion should not be respected – to the contrary, the overriding message of the advertisement is religious tolerance and inclusiveness,” the MLA said in a statement.
In its determination, the ASB agreed that some people may take offence to the religious portrayals in the ad, however, that wasn’t enough to have the ad banned.
The ASB board noted: “Following considerable discussion the majority of the board considered that the overall tone of the advertisement is light-hearted and humorous and in their view the intent is to be inclusive in a manner which promotes a harmonious and multi-faith environment” adding that Lord Ganesha is never actually seen eating the meat.
The MLA responded to the decision saying it welcomed the verdict: “There was never an intention to offend, rather we wanted to ensure that we were as inclusive as possible. To this end, those religions that don’t typically eat red meat are not shown consuming Lamb in the advertisement, but are still invited to the table.”