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Go Vegan World new year ad campaign cancelled at last minute

James Gray

Owner/Editor at Busara Ltd
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. My photo-journalism has been represented by Agence France-Presse.
James Gray

What has happened to Freedom of Speech in the UK? Go Vegan World launched its Vegan Billboard Campaign in the UK in June 2016.

In comparison to the difficulties experienced in Ireland with censorship of its ads, its experience in the UK was one of relative tolerance.

But this New Year’s campaign of over 100 London Bus ads has been cancelled at the last minute by Exterion Media (now Global media).

The reason stated for refusal is that bus operators rejected the ads because they have previously experienced complaints about them.

Among the bus operators that refused the ads are Tower Transit, Abellio, London United, Sovereign and Metroline.

Some of these ads have previously run on London buses and all of them have prior approval by the Advertising Standards Authority.

It seems that the subjective opinion of someone who regards the ads as too controversial is enough to silence an educational campaign.

This is not the only Go Vegan World campaign that has been cancelled. British Telecom was willing to run their climate change ads in Scotland, but rejected the Dairy Takes Babies ad.

Go Vegan World was advised that the reason BT provided for refusing the ad was “There’s no chance branding (or me) would be comfortable with such a controversial message to be displayed on the kiosks.”

Earlier this year Exterion Media (Global) cancelled a Go Vegan World bus ad campaign in Lincoln, again at the last minute, and again on the basis of personal opinion that the ads are too controversial.

Go Vegan World has provided mock ups of the ads that would have run if its campaign had not been censored and is now considering its legal options.