'Suck our guts out' Frubes ad escapes ASA ban

A Yoplait TV ad featuring cartoon characters that used phrases such as "Rip our heads off" and "Suck our guts out" has escaped a ban, despite complaints that the language was inappropriate for children.

The TV ad, which aired in March, was created by Publicis Conseil.

It featured the inside of a fridge, with the cartoon Frubes characters marching in unison behind their leader, who appeared in the character of an army sergeant major.

The sergeant major initiated the following singing exchanges with the soldiers: "We are Frubes and we are proud, rip our heads off, sing it loud!", and "suck our guts out".

The end frame of the ad featured the sergeant major standing beside a pack of Frubes saying, "Frubes. Rip their heads off and suck their guts out."

The ad – which had been cleared by Clearcast, the body that vets TV ads before they air – was challenged by nine viewers, who complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the ad, and particularly the phrase, "Rip their heads off and suck their guts out", was inappropriate for children.

In its defence, Yoplait argued that the Frubes brand had been advertised on TV for a number of years, with various creative treatments that included the strapline, "Rip their heads off and suck their guts out".

Yoplait added that it considered the strapline as referring solely to the Frubes characters, and did not consider it offensive, adding the strapline had become an integral part of the Frubes advertising.

Clearcast explained that it had originally approved the strapline "Rip their heads off and suck their guts out" in an earlier version of the ad seven years ago, adding that it was "light-hearted" and not offensive to children.

Clearcast added that had there been accompanying visual showing the characters ripping off heads and/or sucking their insides, then they would have considered applying a scheduling restriction.

The ASA decided against banning the ad, noting that the Frubes brand had been in use for seven years and that the strapline was made in the context of animated cartoon Frubes characters, and was not directed at anyone.

The advertising watchdog considered that although some viewers might find the strapline distasteful and not want young children to hear or repeat the phrase, it was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children.

Follow John Reynolds on Twitter @johnreynolds10

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