There’s nothing fishy about a Kellogg’s ad which features a goldfish swimming around its bowl using a camp voice.
That’s the view of the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) which cleared the Sultana Bran commercial of denigrating gay men.
The ad is set with a father and daughter eating the cereal at a breakfast table, with the girl asking if goldfish actually have a three-second memory.
Dad replies: “That’s what they say”.
It then cuts to the goldfish swimming around the bowl repeatedly stating with increasing shock, “Sultana Bran’s got more fibre than two slices of wholemeal toast”.
The ASB received numerous complaints, the majority focusing on the denigrating nature of the “stereotypical” camp voice.
One such example: “By utilising the camp voice and tones, the advert and advertisers have perpetuated the stereotypical characteristics of gay males that have been criticised over the last decade … and contributing to the denigration of the LGBTIQ community and in particular towards gay men.”
Kellogg’s argued the goldfish was gender neutral and was not sexualised in any way.
“The purpose of the advertisement is to highlight the fibre content of the product in a playful and humorous way.
“The consumer insight underlying the advertisement is that consumers are looking for ways to increase fibre intakes in their diets…
“The goldfish was not depicted, nor given features or movements, which were homosexual in nature. Further, the advertisement made no reference to homosexual relationships.
“There was no innuendo or further suggestion of anything other,” Kellogg’s said.
The ASB agreed: “In the context of a humorous scenario of a goldfish forgetting what it has just said and repeating itself, the depiction of a talking fish with no identifiable gender is not negative or demeaning to any person.”