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Nando's Karma ad raises hackles

SAPA, May 27 2009

'try our new Good Karma meal - get enlightened!' - Nando's Ad

New York, USA -- Nando's has come under fire again, this time over an ad that supposedly could offend Buddhists.

In a ruling handed down this week, the Advertising Standards Authority said a member of the public had complained about a Nando's print ad promoting a "good karma" meal.

The advertisement urged customers to "try our new Good Karma meal - get enlightened!" and "To celebrate the visit of the Dalai Lama, get a quarter chicken".

The complainant, Karl Muller, had claimed the ad was offensive as it used a religious and spiritual issue to promote its activities.

This was particularly offensive, according to Muller, as the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet, had publicly condemned the slaughter and consumption of chicken, which he regarded as bad karma.

The ASA said Nando's had responded through their attorneys that the ad was part of a one-off campaign on April 1, 2009 and would not be used again.

"The undertaking is accepted on condition that the advertisement in question is not used again in future in its current format," the ASA ruled.

When the ad was published, the South African government had just refused a visa to the Dalai Lama.

Nando's recently provoked controversy with a TV ad featuring ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

The ASA ordered the withdrawal in 2000 of a Nando's TV ad showing a blind woman being led into a pole by her guide dog, which then ate the chicken the woman had just bought.

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