The Advertising Standards Board has dismissed complaints about Meat and Livestock Australia’s spring lamb campaign, which humorously depicts a fictitious dinner with major religions represented, called ‘You never lamb alone’.
The MLA defended the video.
‘‘The scene is clearly fictional and comedic and during the advertisement, the guests are shown poking fun at each other in a light-hearted manner at the dinner table,’’ the MLA said.
The complaints allege that the advertisement is offensive to Hindus and Christians, and incorrectly depicts the Hindu religion by suggesting that the Hindu deity, Ganesh, eats meat.
The complainants appear to allege that the advertisement discriminates or vilifies people on account of their religious beliefs, in particular those who follow the Hindu faith.
MLA submitted that this interpretation was unfounded.
‘‘In fact, the advertisement celebrates religious diversity and does not promote any act of discrimination, prejudice or vilification,’’ MLA said.
‘‘The advertisement depicts a clearly fictional and humorous scene which unites various divinities, prophets and icons at a dinner table.
‘‘The guests at the dinner table are clearly intended to be symbolic of modern day people who follow different faiths such as Christianity, Hinduism, Scientology and ‘no religion’ in the case of the dinner party host.
‘‘The advertisement portrays that, while there are many topics upon which different religions diverge, maybe lamb can bring everyone together.’’
MLA submitted that the advertisement clearly did not discriminate against any particular religious group.
There is nothing in the advertisement that reveals inequity, bigotry, intolerance towards or unfair treatment of any religious group.
All of the guests at the table are depicted poking fun at each other in a manner consistent with what a group of friends might do at a social gathering, with no particular person being treated more or less favourably than a person with another religious belief.
The board considered whether the advertisement complied with Section 2.1 of the code which requires that ‘‘advertisements shall not portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual preference, religion, disability, mental illness or political belief’’.
The board noted the complainants’ concerns that the depiction of the Hindu god, Lord Ganesha, is highly offensive to Hindus because this god would not take part in such a social gathering and as a vegetarian it is inappropriate to suggest that Ganesha would eat lamb.
The board noted that according to Hindu religion Lord Ganesha is vegetarian but considered that in the advertisement we do not see him consume lamb or any other meat.
The board noted the advertiser’s submission that the advertisement depicts a clearly fictional and humorous scene and that the guests at the dinner table are intended to be symbolic of people who follow different faiths or no religion.
Following discussion the majority of the board considered that the overall tone of the advertisement is light-hearted and humorous and in their view the intent is to be inclusive in a manner which promotes a harmonious and multi-faith environment.