An advert promoting same-sex marriage has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) in Australia despite being described as inappropriate.
The advert for Magnum ice cream depicts a woman preparing for her wedding, walking down the aisle and meeting her female spouse-to-be.
The couple then head off for their reception, accompanied by the strapline “pleasure is diverse”, before they share a Magnum.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Australia, and recently a Bill proposing a public vote on this issue was blocked in the Senate.
A viewer wrote to the ASB to complain that the advert amounted to the “promotion of lesbianism during family viewing time”.
The advert is currently rated as category C – general unrestricted – and can be broadcast at any time, other than during pre-school programs.
During the 90 second advert, the couple is seen kissing for four seconds. The Magnum itself is only visible for three.
Unilever, who own the ice cream brand, claimed the advert was in line with the standards of ‘prevailing culture’.
The company also told the ASB: “Viewers will understand the message that while everyone, including same sex couples, can enjoy the pleasure of eating Magnum ice cream, same sex couples would also enjoy the pleasure of getting married.”
The ASB considered the complaint, and conceded that same-sex marriage is not legal, but dismissed it, claiming that: “it is not the Board’s role to say whether a particular issue or scenario can or should be depicted in an advertisement”.
Unilever has been criticised several times recently in Australia for its use of sexualised advertising for some of its other brands – Streets ice cream, and Lynx.
In 2012, Ben and Jerry’s – another Unilever ice cream brand – was slammed after it waded into the same-sex marriage debate in the UK.
The company teamed up with homosexual lobby group Stonewall to change the name of its apple pie flavoured ice cream to ‘Apple-y Ever After’. They also drafted a template letter encouraging people to lobby their MPs to redefine marriage.
At the time, a Telegraph editorial piece said people would be unimpressed by “ice cream that says, ‘buy me, or you’re a bigot'”.