Tesco has escaped sanction from the Advertising Standards Authority over a television and online ad for its Hudl tablet depicting two young boys laughing as a cat falls from a roof.
A total of 43 viewers complained that the piece was likely to cause offence and encourage cruelty to animals, as well as being unsuitable for broadcast before the 9pm watershed.
Created by Wielden & Kennedy the controversial piece depicts a boy shout ‘Watch, watch!’ as an unseen cat stumbles during an unseen leap. He and his friend then burst into laughter before the boy asks ‘Do you want to see it again?’
The camera then pans into a Tesco Hudl where the footage is being replayed with on-screen text reading ‘Let’s watch... Let’s laugh... Let’s share... Let’s Hudl...’
Tesco defended its actions saying that the cat acted on its own volition and the boys laughter was a natural reaction, it added that the cat was unharmed as a result of its fall.
In its judgement the ASA declared: “We noted that the footage did not show the cat being encouraged or forced to jump and we therefore considered there was nothing in the ad that could be emulated or that was likely to encourage cruelty to animals.
"We concluded that the ad did not breach the code and that it did not require any scheduling restriction.