The ASA began an investigation after several complaints were lodged in relation to the advert – challenging whether the advert, and particularly the slogan, were suitable for children.
The TV ad, which was originally cleared for broadcast without timing restrictions, featured an army of Frubes characters lined up behind a sergeant major, who initiated chanting among the Frubes.
“We are Frubes and we are proud, rip our heads off, sing it loud. Suck our guts out,” the cartoon Frubes sang. The ad ended with a final shot of the sergeant major beside a pack of Frubes along with the slogan: “Frubes. Rip their heads off and suck their guts out.”
The consumer complaints were not upheld – a decision which has been met with criticism from the Children’s Food Campaign (CFC), which described the language used in the advert as “distasteful.”
DairyReporter.com approached Yoplait regarding the ASA decision and the CFC comments, but the yogurt manufacturer was unable to comment before publication.
The investigation was initiated after nine viewers challenged whether the advert was appropriate for children to see.
Of the nine reports, two complained that their young children had repeated the phrase.
“We considered that that although some viewers might find the strapline distasteful and not want young children to hear or repeat the phrase, it was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children,” said the ASA report.
For that reason, the ASA concluded that the ad and the phrase were not inappropriate for children to see.
CFC campaign coordinator Malcolm Clark reiterated concerns that the language used in the Frubes advert was “distasteful.”
“Right through from the packaging to the advertising campaigns, the appeal to children of products like Frubes is obvious. Yet the Advertising Standards Authority isn’t interested in strictly applying its rules on protecting children from inappropriate advertising, or in reducing exposure of children to marketing for less healthy foods and diets. This ruling is just another example of that,” Clark added.
No regulation breach
The ASA examined the ad, referring to BCAP Code rules 1.2, 4.1 and 32.3, which cover social responsibility, harm and offence and scheduling. It found that the ad had not breached any of the codes.
The ASA noted that the slogan included in the advert, which had been broadcast on various children’s TV channels such as Nickelodeon and Boomerang, had been used by Yoplait for seven years.
“We also noted that the strapline was made in the context of animated cartoon Frubes characters and was not directed at anyone. We understood that the product was a fruit-flavoured yoghurt which came in slim plastic pouches and was consumed by tearing off the top of the pouch and sucking the contents out, and the strapline reflected this,” the ASA report added.
The ASA added that the advert did not features the animated characters engaging in violence towards each, and it considered that the language used in the ad was milk and relevant to the product and how it would be eaten.