Controversial Nando's ad in South Africa banned

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JOHANNESBURG--South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority has banned a controversial TV commercial which shows a guide dog leading its blind owner into a streetpole in order to snatch the owner's fried chicken. The advertisement was produced by TBWA Hunt Lascaris for its client Nando's, a chicken fast food chain.

The commercial has provoked an extraordinary outcry with the ASA, whichreceived 55 complaints from members of the public, as well as from the South African Guide Dogs Association for the Blind and the National TV and Video Association. In addition, hundreds of blind people with their guide dogs protested outside Nando's restaurants in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

The commercial shows the dog deftly negotiating an open manhole, resisting the temptation of an inviting car tire and ignoring a sexy poodle to lead its owner safely into the Nando's store. But on the way out the smell of the chicken overwhelms the dog, which leads its owner into a pole, then snatches the chicken as she falls and drops it.

Nando's and the agency argued that the "overwhelming majority" of the public would not find the advertisement offensive. But the ASA held that it was degrading to the visually impaired and would offend a consumer of ordinary sensibility. It said that the ad was insensitive and in bad taste, thus contravening the ASA code of advertising practice.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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