The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that an ad produced by Mondelez UK Ltd, owner of Dairylea, breached a series of Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) rules.

The video for Dairylea, seen across a number of video-on-demand services in August 2021, featured two girls hanging upside down from a five-a-side football goal post and having a conversation about where food went when you hang upside down. One of the girls opened a Dairylea Cheese Triangle and proceeded to eat it, whilst hanging upside down.

Fourteen complainants challenged whether the ad condoned or encouraged unsafe behaviour that could be dangerous for children to emulate.

In a statement, Mondelez UK Ltd said the intention of the ad was to show parents allowing their children to have more freedom. The children in the ad were six and eight years of age. The ad included two parents in the background who were supervising the children.

Mondelez pointed to research that the human body was able to move food into the stomach through peristalsis, regardless of gravity. They referred to a study that they said supported their view that a person’s ability to swallow was not affected by the position they ate in, including when eating upside down.

ASA said it had sought expert views on child accidents, and was advised that there was potentially a high risk of choking in that situation. In its ruling, the body said: “We also noted that one complainant had reported that their three-year-old relative, after seeing the ad, ate their food whilst hanging upside down.”

The ASA ruled that the advert must not appear in the same form again.