The Tesco Christmas advert featuring a double-jabbed Father Christmas has been cleared by the advertising watchdog, despite attracting over 5000 complaints.
Almost three weeks after it was first broadcast, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the 90-second clip was meant to be “humorous”, rather than a “message” on Covid rules.
However, the regulator noted that some could find the advert “in poor taste”.
The scene showed Santa presenting his vaccine passport to avoid being quarantined, prompting complaints that it “encouraged medical discrimination”.
According to the Guardian, it is the second-most complained about advert of all time.
“We consider that the depiction of Santa displaying a proof of vaccine status in an airport is likely to be seen as a humorous reference to international travel rules,” an ASA spokesman said.
“It is unlikely to be interpreted as a message about these rules or the Covid-19 vaccine more widely.”
“While we understand that some people disagree with the vaccine programme and may find the ad in poor taste… the ad is unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or cause serious or widespread offence.”
As revealed by i, a number of anti-vaxxers coordinated complaints to the ASA to “force” their objections into media coverage.
Paddy Power, the betting company, holds the crown for the most controversial advert of all time.
During the murder trial of the South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, it offered punters “money back if he walks”, provoking 5525 complaints.