Sultana Bran’s camp goldfish cleared of vilifying the gay community

The Advertising Standards Bureau has cleared Kellogg’s Sultana Bran of denigrating gay men in an ad featuring a camp but forgetful goldfish.

The Sultana Bran ad is set at the breakfast table with a father and daughter eating the cereal. The daughter asks her father if goldfish actually have a three-second memory. The ad then cuts to the goldfish swimming around the bowl stating with increasing shock, “Sultana Bran’s got more fibre than two slices of wholemeal toast”. 

The ASB provided examples of the complaints, with a large focus on the denigrating nature of the “stereotypical” camp voice.

“By utilising the camp voice and tones the advert and advertisers have perpetuated the stereotypical characteristics of gay males that have been criticised over the last decade…and contributing to the denigration of the LGBTIQ community and in particular towards gay men,” an example complaint said.

Kellogg’s argued the fish was gender neutral and was not sexualised in any way.

“The purpose of the advertisement is to highlight the fibre content of the product in a playful and humorous way. The consumer insight underlying the advertisement is that consumers are looking for ways to increase fibre intakes in their diets…

“The goldfish was not depicted, nor given features or movements, which were homosexual in nature. Further, the advertisement made no reference to homosexual relationships. There was no innuendo or further suggestion of anything other,” Kellogg’s said in response to the complaint.

The ABS ruled the ad did not vilify the LGBTIQ+ community because: “In the context of a humorous scenario of a goldfish forgetting what it has just said and repeating itself, the depiction of a talking fish with no identifiable gender is not negative or demeaning to any person.”

Sultana Bran’s 15-second ad has over 1m views on YouTube, with 11 comments, 42 likes and four dislikes – compared to the 30-second TVC which has just 123,000 views.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.