Vegan charity Viva! has had its ‘killer yoghurt’ advert banned from airing after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received complaints regarding the graphic imagery used.

The advert, which depicts a woman eating a yoghurt labelled ‘Mother’s Grief’, showed stirring bloody and raw offal into the yoghurt as fake blood dripped from her mouth.

The voiceover on the advert said: “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 Yoghurts.”

Complaints were received by ASA regarding the advert, with ASA acknowledging that the advert was shown on third party websites such as Duolingo, Facebook and YouTube, where it was shown to users under the age of 18.

Duolingo has an age restriction of four and above, leading the ASA to conclude that although the app was not explicitly targeted at children, it was still likely to be used by them.

Viva! said it had not been aware that ads on YouTube, served via the Google display network could also appear on other sites and apps.

It said an advertiser could not select the websites or apps on which the ad would appear and did not know where the ad would or had appeared, emphasising that it would have expected ads targeted at an adult audience to have been pushed only to apps with an 18+ restriction. It added that the company would ensure, if it placed this ad again, that it was not shown anywhere but YouTube.

The ASA upheld complaints against the advert

The ASA stated on its website: “The ASA acknowledged that the ad was intended to be a parody of ads for popular food products like fruit yoghurts, which were typically light-hearted and wholesome in tone.

“However, the ad featured blood and offal being mixed into the yoghurt in the place of fruit or jam, with close-up shots of the offal. The woman was shown eating the blood and offal whilst smiling, with blood dripping from her mouth and teeth.

“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.”

This is not the first time Viva! has been involved with the ASA, as the charity has previously challenged an AHDB “Eat Balanced” advert in 2021 and a Red Tractor Scheme advert in 2018. Neither of these complaints were upheld, with ASA ruling that the adverts were not in breach of advertising rules.