ASA Adjudication on The Big Prawn Company
The Big Prawn Company
31 January 2007
Food and drink
Number of complaints:
An ad in The Grocer magazine, for The Big Prawn Company, featured an image of a framed painting depicting the nativity. A king prawn was shown in the manger in place of the baby Jesus. Text underneath the picture stated "'A KING IS BORN' ORDER NOW TO ENSURE A CHRISTMAS DELIVERY THE BIG PRAWN CO". The Big Prawn Company launches it's [sic.] new King prawn in December. To find out more call ... "
Food Chain Solutions and members of the public thought the image of the nativity scene with a prawn in the place of the baby Jesus was offensive, especially to Christians.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The Big Prawn Company (Big Prawn Co.) said they had not intended their ad to offend and had believed that most readers would understand that the approach was meant to be light-hearted. They did not believe the ad was disrespectful or mocking of religion and explained that they had a running theme of using puns involving prawns to advertise their company and did not believe that the ad would cause serious or widespread offence. The Big Prawn Co. told us during a telephone conversation that they had received approximately 16 complaints about the ad and had responded to each letter they received. They said they also printed an apology in the subsequent issue of The Grocer and told us that they would not use the ad again.
The Grocer said they had given serious consideration to the ad before running it. They thought the ad was intended to be humorous, rather than offensive, and because The Grocer was a specialist title, with a diverse readership encompassing all faiths, they concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. They told us that they had received 28 complaints about the ad and that they had written directly to each of the complainants.
The ASA acknowledged that the Big Prawn Co. had issued an apology to those who complained to them about the ad and that they had also published an apology in The Grocer. We noted they had no plans to use the ad again.
While we noted some readers had been offended by the depiction of a prawn in place of the baby Jesus, we considered that the approach would be seen as light-hearted by most readers of The Grocer; it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code clauses 5.1 and 5.2 (Taste and decency) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)