The television advertisement included a scene which featured a dog with its head out of a moving vehicle. The dog raises its head and as it does so, part of its torso becomes visible.
The complainant stated that they believed the scene featuring the dog with its head out of a moving vehicle was a breach of the ASAI Code. The complainant also referred to a section of the Rules of the Road which states: ''Animals should be securely contained when traveling in a vehicle using an appropriate harness or cage to avoid injury to the animal or to other passengers''.
The advertisers stated that the scene shown was a stock scene purchased and was created outside of Ireland. They said that it was common practice in the advertising industry to use these “stock” resources, who are large, legitimate companies in their own right and know that their footage will be used for public broadcast. Therefore, it was not within their interests to provide anything that could be deemed illegal or irresponsible. They advised that they had carried out a background check via the stock library on the source of the footage and found that it had been taken by the dog’s owner, who had reassured the library that all due caution had been taken to ensure the dog’s safety. They have apologised for any distress caused and advised that it was their intention to swap out the commercial, if time allows, by April.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response, including their intention to swap the content out of the commercial.
The Committee noted that the Code requires that a marketing communication should not condone or encourage dangerous behaviour or unsafe practices. They noted that it was not apparent that the dog featured in the advertisement was appropriately restrained. As there was no evidence that the animal was restrained using either a harness or a cage, the Committee considered that the depiction of the dog was in breach of Sections 3.3 and 3.24(a) of the Code.
Action Required: The advertisement must not reappear in its current form.