The Home Office’s £1m anti-cocaine ad, which features a coke-smuggling dog with its stomach cut open, has received 23 complaints for being “offensive and disturbing”.
The Advertising Standards Authority says it is assessing complaints about the ad, created for drugs advisory service Frank, and has yet to decide whether to investigate.
The ad, created by Mother, features Pablo, a drug mule dog that dies while smuggling cocaine into the country. Waking from the dead, he goes on a mission to find out the truth about the risks and consequences of taking the drug.
Viewers complained that graphic scenes, including footage showing Pablo’s stomach being cut open to obtain the drugs, is harrowing and should not be shown on TV.
The ad broke during the ad break in Channel 4’s The IT Crowd last Friday (December 4) and was launched by Home Office minister Alan Campbell earlier that day.
Campbell said of the campaign: “The new hard-hitting ads emphasise that the harm caused by cocaine can be wide-ranging. Taking cocaine can have serious consequences, legally and socially, as well as from a health and environmental point of view.
“We want young people thinking about using cocaine to be aware of the damage it causes to themselves, their families, the wider community and the environment.”
A new Frank website, created by digital agency Profero, has been launched to support the TV campaign.