The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has spectacularly U-turned on its original decision regarding the latest lamb ad put out by The Monkeys for Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).
The ad, which features a number of historical religious figures including the Hindu god Lord Ganesha, was cleared by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) in September following a number of complaints.
However, the ASB has now said the ad breached section 2.1 of the AANA’s Code of Ethics around religious discrimination and upheld complaints.
The ASB said it noted the recommendation from the independent reviewer that the board was “clearly in error” in considering that the ‘elephant in the room’ comment in the ad is in the context of a joke, and that Lord Ganesha “answers in an assertive manner suggestive of his complicity in the light-hearted nature of this comment, and that this is not discriminatory or vilifying”.
“The board recognised that the advertiser is known for presenting laid-back advertisements with edgy Australian humour,” the ASB said.
“However, the board considered that the advertiser had given inadequate consideration to how seriously some Australians take their religious views, and did not pay due attention to the level of offence about something important to those people.”
MLA said in a statemen that it acknowledges the decision, but “respectfully disagrees”, and said the ad was conceived and intended to promote religious inclusiveness in a light-hearted and humorous manner.
“Most critically, it was never the intention of MLA to discriminate against or vilify any religious group. We confirm that the advertisement is no longer being broadcast,” the statement said.