A Christmas advert by Tesco has been allowed to continue airing despite causing outrage and thousands of complaints from coronavirus anti-vaxxers.
Regulators Advertising Standards Authority ruled that an advert depicting Santa showing his vaccination passport didn’t ‘break their rules’ despite a hoard of anti-vaxxers taking to their site to complain.
More than 5,000 people protested about Tesco’s ad, called ‘This Christmas, Nothing’s Stopping Us’, but the authority resolved that there was ‘no grounds for further action’.
The advert, which first aired last month, focuses on the idea of this Christmas being the first time we are able to celebrate the festive season properly with friends and family since the pandemic first began.
However, within the advert, a plot twist arises that sees Father Christmas threatened with the possibility of quarantine, which could result in presents being unable to be delivered across the globe.
Thankfully, viewers see Santa proving he is double vaccinated when he presents his coronavirus passport to border control, meaning he can safely travel across the world, the gift of giving ultimately being restored.
Despite the humorous and jolly nature of the story, the advert faced fierce backlash, with members of the public claiming it was coercive and medically discriminatory, The Irish Mirror reports.
Television presenter Gillian McKeith, who calls herself a public health advocate, even took to Twitter to call out the supermarket giant.
#tesco has a new Christmas advert that celebrates #discrimination & #segregation via a fully jabbed Santa who shows his medical status! Who in their right mind in management thought this was a good idea? If you don’t #BoycottTesco then you are #complicit.
A spokesperson for Tesco countered that, in the company’s view, the advert had been ‘well-received’ by audiences.
The spokesperson stated:
We respect everyone’s views and we know that Christmas is a hugely important time for many of our customers and, after last year’s events, that is truer now than ever.
We set out to create a campaign which took a light-hearted view on how the nation is feeling and it has been well-received by colleagues and customers
They concluded that the advert ‘reflects the current rules and regulations regarding international travel’, while the world was ‘still in the midst of a pandemic’.
The Advertising Standards Authority reviewed the advert, but declared it a ‘humorous reference to international travel rules people have experienced this year’, and cleared it.
‘While we understand that some people disagree with the vaccine programme and may find the ad in poor taste, we have concluded that the ad is unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or cause serious or widespread offence on the basis suggested,’ it resolved.
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