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Puppy baking advert 'downright cruel'

By Paul Harper

An internet advertisement where puppies are placed in an oven shows a "dangerous practice which would encourage a disregard for safety", the Advertising Standards Authority says.
Photo / Thinkstock
An internet advertisement where puppies are placed in an oven shows a "dangerous practice which would encourage a disregard for safety", the Advertising Standards Authority says. Photo / Thinkstock

An internet advertisement where puppies are placed in an oven shows a "dangerous practice which would encourage a disregard for safety", the Advertising Standards Authority says.

In the webisode advertisement, presenter Mikey Havoc demonstrates the "cool-touch" technology of the Parmco oven door in a segment called "Hayley's Puppies".

"...We are going to put the Parmco oven door to the test. The test of heat. Let's out these little puppies inside. Why? Because I'm so confident that they'll survive," Mr Havoc says.

He then places the puppies in the oven, before another man rolls up on a motorcycle and aims a flame thrower on three ovens in the test, including the Parmco oven that has the puppies inside. Two of the ovens explode as the flamethrower is applied.

"Three ovens," Mr Havoc says. "Guess what? One winner. It's Parmco."

Complainant K Seymour received the advertisement for Parmco ovens in an email in October, and found it "rather disturbing".

"The company has put two puppies in danger and what this company may think is humorous, I think it is downright cruel and distasteful advertising. It also can create a dangerous advertising to the public to try this at home."

Parmco argued a registered SPCA member was on site during the filming, but the SPCA said that while there was an 'animal welfare consultant' there, that person was not employed by the SPCA and had not connection to the organisation.

Parmco said the advert was one of a series set in a "surreal fantasy incorporating obvious humour, innuendo and extreme hyperbole".

"The various comedic elements portrayed in this webisode were very carefully staged and were presented as humorous and overtly far-fetched. This webisode is the third in a series of five all designed to be clearly funny and to engage and entertain the audience."

However the Complaints Board said the advertisement breached the Code of Ethics Basic Principle 4, by lacking a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society, and Rule 12, by containing dangerous or illegal practices or situations which encourage a disregard for safety.

"[The Complaints Board] said that, while most people would realise that the scene was not a literal exposition, it was realistic enough for any comedic or hyperbolic element that was intended, to be lost and instead appeared violent and cruel.

Also of concern to the Complaints Board was a level of risk associated with the advertisement in relation to copycat behaviour with regard to placing pets in ovens."

The complaint was upheld.

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