The ad, created by Mother, showed a couple enjoying a picnic on a beach and drinking from their cans of Fanta Light, but then calmly spitting the drink out. Others were also shown spitting the drink out in similar ways.
The voiceover said: "We all liked the idea of Fanta Light, but not everyone liked the taste. Goodbye Fanta Light, hello Fanta Z. Real Fanta taste, zero added sugar."
Viewers complained that the ad condoned spitting and eight children, aged between two and four years, were reported to have copied the ad. A head teacher said that a number of children in the playground had also mimicked the commercial.
The majority of complainants to the Advertising Standards Authority said the images were disgusting and eight thought it was inappropriate because spitting posed a health risk and could spread tuberculosis.
Coca-Cola said the ad was created to target an audience of 16- to 24-year-olds, who they claimed would understand the "fictitious and bold" campaign.
The BACC, which clears ads for broadcast, said that it thought the ad was "fairly mild and harmless" and conducted in an "amusingly polite and restrained manner, avoided expressions of disgust and did not show a lack of consideration to others".
The advertiser said that it had only received six complaints directly, however it would amend the media scheduling of its 40-second commercial to comply with the ASA Council's ruling not to show it again before 9pm.
The ASA agreed that viewers would not want children to see something that is perceived as anti-social, however it did not consider that the images showing people spitting would cause widespread offence or pose a significant health risk.
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