The advertising watchdog has dismissed a complaint against a supposedly raunchy Magnum ice-cream ad featuring celebrity chef Manu Feildel.
To promote its chocolate toffee ice-cream flavour, designed in collaboration with Feildel, Magnum displayed a number of billboards featuring Feildel’s face and the words: “New chocolate toffee by Manu Feildel. Magnum for pleasure seekers”.
The celebrity chef, well known for co-hosting Channel 7 series My Kitchen Rules, has lent his name to a number of products in the past.
However, his latest collaboration appears to be too much for one Australian who wrote to the Advertising Standards Board with an interesting accusation.
“I feel like the advertiser is trying to suggest that the ice cream is Manu’s penis and that the women who buy the ice cream are indulging in the sensuous pleasure of Manu Fieldel’s penis,” the person wrote.
However, Unilever – the company behind Magnum ice-creams – rejected this interpretation.
“The Magnum product has a bite taken out,” Unilever told the advertising watchdog.
“Consumers will understand that the statement refers to the pleasure of eating a Magnum which is an indulgent ice-cream.”
The Advertising Standards Board agreed, saying it is “unlikely” most people would think the ad is sexual in nature.
“The board noted that the advertisement is promoting the new chocolate toffee flavoured Magnum and considered that the Magnum ice-cream depicted is clearly intended to be representative of the product and not of any part of Manu Feildel,” the advertising watchdog ruled.
“The board noted the text in the advertisement, ‘for pleasure seekers’ and considered that this statement is clearly in the context of the pleasure of eating the new Magnum ice-cream.
“The board considered overall the complainant’s interpretation of the sexualised nature of the advertisement is an interpretation that is unlikely to be shared by the broader community.”
SmartCompany contacted Unilever for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.