An ad by vegan charity Viva! that featured a woman eating yoghurt containing blood and raw offal has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The pre-roll ad, which ran on Facebook Watch and Instagram and the Duolingo and Poki Games apps, was ruled likely to cause serious and widespread offence. It was also irresponsibly targeted because it had been seen by children. Seven complaints were received by the ASA.
The ad, “New from Killer yoghurts” by Skylark Media, is a parody of those for corner-style yoghurts and shows a woman opening the pot, smiling and mixing blood and raw offal into it. She then licks the lid, revealing blood in her mouth that drips down her chin.
A voiceover says: “New from Killer yoghurts—the umbilical cord flavour. Produced with only the finest ingredients—the stolen milk of grieving mothers.
“Taste the torment in every mouthful. Blended with brutality. Be complicit, with Killer yoghurt.”
The action then cuts to scenes from an indoor dairy farming shed.
In response, Viva! said viewers would understand the blood was not real and the intention was to expose aspects of the dairy industry consumers did not see and highlight the hypocrisy of companies claiming high welfare standards on farms.
Viva! said it had paid for advertising on Meta platforms and YouTube and had targeted over-18s. It said it was not aware ads on YouTube could appear on other sites and apps.
The ads were placed on Duolingo and Poki Games by Google, which said it was the advertiser’s responsibility to abide by applicable laws and regulations. But it also said the ad was in breach of its policies and it had taken steps to prevent it serving again. Facebook did not have any comment.
The ASA said the ad breached the CAP Code and was “likely to be seen as frightening and distressing to children”.
“Although we acknowledged people would understand the ad was intended as a comment on animal welfare, we considered the graphic and gory imagery was likely to shock and cause a sense of disgust,” it said.