Oporto ad slammed by watchdog for suggesting torturous acts

Oporto’s ‘Carne Cartel’ advertisement has been found to be unnecessarily violent by the Advertising Standards Board due to its depiction of a man being held captive.

The advertisement depicts a chef who is tied up and hooded while being terrorised by a Latin-American Cartel member for using low-quality meat. He is threatened with a meat cleaver, and at one point there is a scream and a splash of sauce – which the advertising watchdog says alludes to blood.

A sample complaint, published in the Board’s case report, accuses Oporto of parodying Latin-American culture and promoting violent behaviour.

“I feel this ad is absolutely disgusting,” the complaint read. “There is enough violence in this world today without watching it in advertisements. Surely the product can be advertised in a much more appropriate way.”

In response, Oporto said it did not portray or depict material which discriminates or vilifies a person or section of the community on the grounds of race, ethnicity or nationality. It also rejected the claims that it portrayed unnecessary violence.

“No harm comes to anyone in the advertisement and no violence is actually portrayed,” the company said in the Board’s case report. “We believe consumers will know and understand that Oporto in no way endorses violence of any kind, but has taken creative license to demonstrate that Oporto now has quality steak products.”

The watchdog found the advertisement did not vilify South Americans because “it is not clear that the characters are part of any particular group or that they are from any particular country or nation”.

However, the Board did find the ad presented violence in an unacceptable manner and therefore breached section 2.3 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics. Section 2.3 states that advertisements and marketing communications “shall not present or portray violence unless it is justifiable in the context of the product or service advertised”.

Mumbrella reports the Oporto ad was created by advertising company Publicis Mojo. SmartCompany contacted Oporto for comment but they did not respond prior to publication.

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