A Dairylea advert, featuring two girls hanging upside down whilst eating cheese triangles, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The ban follows complains made by 14 viewers stating it could encourage unsafe behaviour.
The advert, seen on ITV Hub, All 4 and My 5 in August, showed the young girls hanging upside down from a football goal before opening the Dairylea product and eating it.
According to Dairylea’s parent company and FMCG giant Mondelez UK, the advert was to show parents allowing their children to have more freedom, as a result, the video included two supervising adults in the background.
“Although the children were hanging upside down, they were nearly touching the floor and therefore were at a safe distance so as to not fall and hurt themselves,” Mondelez UK said.
The FMCG giant also argued as Dairylea is a soft food, it considered there was a very low risk of choking when eating upside down.
As a result, the advert has been given as an “ex-kids” scheduling restriction, with Mondelez revealing it will no longer be running the advert and will remove references to eating upside down in the future, if used.
The ASA said it sought advice from Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), who said the the scenario depicted in the ad represented a situation where there was potentially a high risk of choking.
“We acknowledged that because the ad had an ex-kids restriction, children’s exposure to it would be reduced,” the ASA said.
“However, we considered that the ad condoned and encouraged younger children to eat whilst hanging upside down, which was an unsafe practice where there was potentially a high risk of choking.
“We therefore concluded that a scheduling restriction was not sufficient to reduce the risk of harm and that the ad breached the Code.”
The ASA also noted one complainant had reported that their three-year-old relative, after seeing the ad, ate their food whilst hanging upside down.
A Mondelez spokesman added: “We recognise and will abide by the ASA’s decision but we are disappointed by the ruling.
“We carefully consulted with Clearcast to pre-approve the content of this video on demand advert prior to airing.
“It was aimed at adults (parents) rather than young children and was deliberately scheduled away from programming likely to appeal to children under 16. As such, we believe it was unlikely to encourage ‘copycat’ behaviour by young children.
“We remain committed to responsible advertising and work with a range of partners to make sure our marketing meets and complies with all relevant UK regulations.”