BBC News has just released a list of the top 10 most controversial ads of 2007, and our edgy, boundary-pushing counterparts over in the UK made the list with their “Feeding Kids Meat Is Child Abuse” billboard, which received a whopping 68 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority in 2007. The way I see it, with literally millions of advertisements bombarding the public every day with messages about how they can make their teeth whiter, or, like, more effectively pluck their eyebrows, creating an ad that makes people stop and think—and that affects some people so profoundly that they’re shocked out of their complacency—is not an easy thing to do. So, excellent work, PETA UK.
It may not be a message that people want to hear, but it’s an important one (a point that was recognized by the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled that the ad does not trivialize abuse, as complainants had claimed). And, of course, when you consider that feeding kids meat sets them on the road to a higher risk of heart attacks, diabetes, and a whole slew of other health problems, the ad isn’t exactly misstating the case. Here’s the BBC list of controversial ads, and here’s the billboard that’s causing all the fuss. I’d love to hear what you think.