The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned a vegan advert by Viva a vegan campaign group. The vegan advertising campaign claims that milk is linked to cancer. ASA said the claim is unsubstantiated, misleading and must not appear again.
The offending vegan advert which was displayed on buses in Bristol last year, shows an image of a cow’s udder and states that:
“Some dairy industry facts we bet you don’t know …. Most cows are pregnant when milking. That’s why milk contains 35 hormones, including oestrogen …. some of these are linked to cancer. Milk is for babies, so let Viva! wean you off the teat!”.
Two complainants that took this to imply that milk causes cancer contacted ASA to challenge whether Viva’s vegan advert claiming a link to cancer, was misleading and whether it could be substantiated.
Viva in their defense claimed they were referring to natural hormones produced by cows in calf to support the development of their calves
They argued that their vegan advert stated that hormones in milk are “linked” to cancer as opposed to “causing cancer.” They also said their claim was not implying that artificial hormones or hormone treatments were used in milk production.
ASA stood by Complainants
ASA agreed with the complainants and banned the advert from any future use.
It felt the vegan advert made completely unsubstantiated claims that would mislead consumers into believing that cow’s milk would cause cancer or increase the risk of cancer.
They believed that consumers would know from the theme of the advert of cows with the calves, that they were referencing the natural hormones produced through pregnancy being present in milk.
A claim of this gravity that implies that the naturally occurring hormones in milk are linked to incidences of cancer would have to be substantiated with unequivocal proof.
Their claim had no evidence
Although Viva! Submitted papers that they said backed up their claims of a cancer link to the naturally occurring hormones in milk. None of their so called supporting documents did anything to prove their outlandish claim.
ASA reiterated that unsubstantiated and misleading ads with no firm evidence are not allowed to be used in any form of advertising and this advert was not to be used again.
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