'Fornicating' horses on Moro ad cause offence

23:15, Jun 17 2009

Complaints over a three-second clip of horses having sex in a chocolate bar commercial have been rejected by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The advert, for Cadbury Moro chocolate bars, features a number of situations in which coming fourth was the place for "real winners".

As well as the mating horses, the advert featured a disco dancer, a yacht crew and a team of synchronised swimmers.

Complainant T Prins said it "was offensive to watch an advert in which two horses were fornicating. I am the parent of an eight year old and a two year old and work hard at preserving their innocence".

Other complainants expressed similar views, the ASA said.

Legal counsel for Cadbury and advert makers DDB said the commercial was targeted primarily at 15-24 year-old males and had been rated PGR – for broadcast after 7pm, during news programmes or appropriate weekday daytime adult programmes.

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"We note the horse sequence lasts for eight seconds of a 60 second TVC in total and the 'mating horses' are shown on-screen for approximately three seconds," Cadbury's lawyers said.

The Television Commercials Approval Bureau had expected some people to react, but decided it was unlikely for it to "cause serious or widespread offence".

"The humour is admittedly rather juvenile and of dubious taste but the footage is not gratuitous and does not depict anything not seen daily on farms up and down the country."

"To take offence seems rather prudish and curiously anthropomorphic (it is not technically possible for animals to 'fornicate')," the bureau said.

The ASA concurred mating horses were seen daily on farms throughout New Zealand, and the footage was shot in a way that could not be called explicit.

Furthermore, because the commercial had a PGR rating, children would be able to ask their parents should they have any questions, the ASA said.

- NZPA