WWF-UK snow leopard advert 'did not break advertising rules'

The Advertising Standards Authority rejects single complaint about the charity's insert in children's title Moshi Monsters Magazine

Image from the WWF-UK campaign
Image from the WWF-UK campaign

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint against a WWF-UK fundraising advert that encouraged people to adopt snow leopards.

The advert appeared as an insert in Moshi Monsters Magazine, which is aimed at young children, and showed a photograph of a snow leopard alongside the text: "Protect him now. Or lose him forever."

Subsequent pages in the advert detailed the plight of the snow leopard in Nepal, alongside two images of a leopard toy, and encouraged people to support the cause by adopting one of the animals.

The ASA said it received one complaint about the advert, with the complainant saying he believed the advert exploited children's susceptibility to charitable appeals.

WWF told the ASA it had published nearly two million inserts across different publications to ensure a wide range of potential adopters and that a large proportion of their adopters were women with young children.

The charity said the insert was aimed at parents rather than children and that it deliberately used a different style to the magazine and did not use bright colours or cartoons to illustrate the text.

For this reason, the charity said, the advert was not trying to exploit children and that it was unlikely to appeal to them, despite the inclusion of images of cuddly toys.

The form on the insert also contained a date of birth and the charity said it would not accept donations from people under the age of 18.

Skyjack Publishing, which owns Moshi Monsters Magazine, said it had a long-standing relationship with the charity and that this was the first complaint it had received, despite publishing nearly two million of the inserts.

The ASA said that the advert had not broken any rules.

"We concluded that the ad did not exploit children's susceptibility to charitable appeals," the ASA said in its ruling.

Kerry Blackstock, director of public fundraising at WWF-UK, said: "WWF-UK remains content that the advertisement was aimed at parents or guardians of the readers of Moshi Monsters Magazine. WWF cooperated fully in the ASA complaints process and welcomes the ASA ruling not to uphold the complaint."

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