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Product: Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Advertiser: Muller UK & Ireland
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.17, 3.18, 3.19(a), 3.19(b), 3.19(c), 3.19(d), 3.20
Television advertising for Müller Light Greek featured different ‘Greek style’ scenes.
A woman is shown walking onto her balcony with a pot of Muller yogurt in her hand. FVO: “Muller Light big pot Greek style yogurt...thick...delicious..”.
The yoghurt is spooned into a bowl and the woman is shown eating the yoghurt. Across from her balcony we can see a man is at a potter’s wheel making a vase, glancing up at the woman while he’s working.
FVO: “ ...AND fat free.”
The woman on the balcony shouts “FAT FREE?!?” which startles the potter, making him almost ruin his work. He is able to steady himself continue with his work.
FVO: “...with 0% added sugar.
A second woman eating yoghurt shouts “NO ADDED SUGAR?!?” which causes the man at the potters wheel to look up in surprise and squeeze the vase he was working on, causing it to explode, sending wet clay all over him.
FVO): “Muller Light Greek style big pot - delicious, fat free and 0% added sugar. Muller - official yogurt of Athletics Ireland.”
Scene opens with a naked man posing for a sculptor. The man is holding a large globe as he poses. The scene changes to show the sculptor as he is working on his sculpture. The scene then moves to outside where a woman sits down outside the studio where the sculptor is working. We can see through an open archway into where the sculptor is working. The woman takes a yoghurt from her bag. She turns the yoghurt so the camera can see the label. The woman is then shown eating the yoghurt.
FVO: "New Muller Light Greek Style Kremas. Whipped, creamy tasting. And Fat Free!" The man posing is shown to slightly wobble. When the woman hears that the yoghurt is fat free she cries out "Fat Free!" whereby the man posing loses his balance. The sculptor then appears to get a fright and chops off a part of the sculpture which causes the man posing to drop the globe he was holding and cover his groin.. The globe rolls outside past the woman followed by the naked man.
FVO "New Muller Light Kremas. Whipped, creamy tasting and Fat Free!"
The complainant noted that the advertisements all featured man who were semi-dressed and considered that they were sexist. He considered that had the advertisements featured women in the same way, they would be deemed tasteless and exploitative of women and that the same standards should be applied for men when they were being exploited to sell yoghurts to women. Finally he questioned the relevance of using naked men to sell yoghurts.
The advertisers stated that their Müllerlight Greek style yoghurt had been formulated to target diet/health conscious adults through its fat free and no added sugar credentials. They said that the advertising for their Greek style yoghurt was intended to evoke a typical Greek scene to be consistent with the yoghurt’s Greek theme. In regards to Advertisement 1, they said that it had featured a street scene with a potter outside his workshop. They said that the tone of the advertisement, in common with all their Müllerlight advertising, was fun and light hearted and consistent with their brand values of uplifting and delighting everybody with everyday moments of pleasure.
They said that both male and female protagonists were used across their advertising and there was no intention to exploit or discriminate against men. They said that in advertisement 1, it was the potter who was distracted by the shouts of the female, whereas in other examples of their advertising, it was their brand ambassador, Nicole Scherzinger, who was depicted tripping, falling or knocking things over as consequence of being lost in the experience of the product, and invariably ended up with yoghurt on her face. They also said that advertisement 1 had been cleared by both Clearcast in the UK and advertising clearance in Ireland without restriction and had aired periodically over the past 18 months in the UK, with no previous complaint received that they were aware of.
In response to the Executive’s request to provide comments on the portrayal of men generally in their advertising, rather than to one specific advertisement, the advertisers reiterated their earlier points that the tone of their advertising was fun, light-hearted and consistent with their brand values of uplifting and delighting everybody with everyday moments of pleasure. They again said that both male and female protagonists were used across their television advertising and had been for some time. They said that there was no intention to exploit or discriminate against men.
The advertisers said that it was important to note that television advertising formed only part of their advertising campaigns and they provided the Executive with a copy of a press advertisement which featured only the product and its characteristics.
Complaint Not Upheld
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the advertisers had used both male and females in their advertising campaigns and in the light of this they reviewed various advertisements, including those featuring the advertisers’ brand ambassador. They noted that all the advertisements were light-hearted in nature with comedic moments.
In regards to the advertising that the complainant referred to, the Committee noted that while the men featured were shown topless or naked, it was not in an overt manner, was in line with other advertisements in the campaign and the overall tone of the advertisements were light-hearted. The Committee were of the view that consumers were likely to consider that there was a reasonable link between a Greek yoghurt and the Greek scenes, such as the sculpting scene. In this context, they considered that the portrayal of the men was not exploitative.
The Complaints Committee noted the concerns raised by the complainant, however, they did not consider that the portrayal of the men in the advertising was in breach of the Code.
No further action required.