By consumer affairs reporter Amy Bainbridge.
A controversial advertisement spruiking the benefits of eating lamb on Australia Day that has clocked up more than 1.7 million views on YouTube will be allowed to stay on air.
The Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) advertisement, called Operation Boomerang, features SBS newsreader and social media sensation Lee Lin Chin as she masterminds a plan to bring Australians home for Australia Day so they can eat lamb.
But the advertisement has attracted close to 650 complaints since it was launched a week ago, with a large number of people claiming it discriminated against vegans.
Watch it here:
It includes a scene where a SWAT-style operation is staged and a vegan is rescued while his kale is blow-torched.
Other complaints were in relation to the use of the term “Operation Boomerang”.
The Advertising Standards Board held an extraordinary meeting and decided the advertisement did not breach the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics.
In a statement the board said:
- In the majority of the board’s view a depiction of torching of the vegan food is an exaggerated and humorous response to the food that is not lamb – a portrayal of the food being less preferable to the advertised product, and not inciting hatred towards people who are vegan.
- In making a determination about concerns about the term boomerang, the board noted that most members of the community would be familiar with the origins of a boomerang and its connection to Indigenous Australians.
- The board also noted however the Macquarie Dictionary definition of boomerang to include a colloquial meaning of ‘something that is expected to be returned’.
The board’s decision covers all versions of the advertisement. The longest version, which only runs online, is two minutes. The television version of the advertisement runs for 30 seconds.