Watchdog considers 1m coke campaign

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 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.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here