Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

Vodafone bull ad branded "disgraceful" for making light of "very dangerous animals"

The Advertising Standards Authority found the ad to be in breach of their guidelines.

Source: Vodafone Ireland/YouTube

A VODAFONE AD about a picnic has been found to be in breach advertising guidelines because it made light of a “very dangerous situation”.

People who complained about the television ad said that it didn’t acknowledge that bulls are “very dangerous animals”.

The ad in question features a couple hopping over a fence into a field to have a picnic before they are confronted by a bull.

While the man in the ad attempts to search on his phone for information on ‘how to calm a bull?’, the woman plays a video of a dog on her phone and the bull calmly walks away.

Text then appears on-screen in the ad saying: “Only Vodafone 4G covers 90% of people in every county”.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland said it had received four complaints over the ad:

The complainants said that to infer that a bull would just walk away on seeing a dog barking on a mobile phone was ridiculous and one complainant said that it would take more than this action to deter an agitated bull and the appropriate action would be for those concerned to have exited the field as soon as possible.

Another complainant also noted that the couple appeared to be ‘trespassing’ on the land and that the ad created the impression that it was acceptable to do so.

Another complainant who had been attacked by a bull in the past described the ad as “disgraceful”.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

In its response, Vodafone said that the ad was intended to be humourous and that they “had never sought to encourage people to knowingly climb into fields containing livestock.”

The company also noted that the ad is no longer being shown on television.

In its decision, the ASAI said that while Vodafone may not have intended to “condone dangerous behaviour”, it was “irresponsible” to use the scene for dramatic effect and as a result it breached advertising guidelines.

It recommended that the ad continue to be off air in its current format.

Read: “You wanna feel?” – Complaints that this Opel ad is ‘sexist’ have been rejected >

Read: Toyota told it can’t claim to have the ‘Best Built Cars in the World’ >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

Read next: