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Vegan activists furious after Yarra Trams blocks ads

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 26 Jan 2018
Vegan activists are furious after the centrepiece of their ad campaign focused on unlearning "speciesism" was thwarted by Yarra Trams at the eleventh hour.

Colorado-based activists Be Fair Be Vegan began rolling out their 12-week animal equality campaign on January 15 and intended it to peak with a five-car tram wrapped in pictures of animals and vegan slogans.

The campaign, including billboards, posters, "guerilla-style urban media" and a large rolling message opposite Flinders Street Station, was intended to get maximum exposure during the Australian Open.

Be Fair Be Vegan said that oOh! Media refused the campaign from the beginning and QMS also pulled out prior to booking the campaign.

Campaign spokesperson Angel Flinn said the tram design had been pre-approved by the Outdoor Media Association and by JC Decaux, which took over Yarra Trams’ advertising in November.

"We knew the campaign was going to have pre-approval issues," she said.

"Everything had been pre-approved, we weren't informed there was this stage of having Yarra Trams approve it themselves."

The message on the tram "See them for who they really are... not what we force them to be. All prejudice is learned... it's time to unlearn speciesism" was due to skirt through the city for eight weeks.

Ms Flinn said the reason the group chose to run the campaign in Melbourne was because of the city's network of vegan supporters.

"It's becoming one of the top vegan-friendly cities, we thought there might be a good amount of support here for it," she said.

But the activists say Yarra Trams dropped the ads at the last minute due to a "conflict with the company’s ad guidelines" which they say left them no time to book replacement media.

Under the Yarra Trams Advertising Content Review Guidelines, the advertising cannot show  "images real, imagined or created" that may depict violence against animals or demean or denigrate animals, or feature wording that promotes or implies violence against animals.

“It’s hard to imagine advertisers are subject to such restrictions when their ads show animal bodies on a barbecue or on the end of a hook,” Ms Flinn said.

Ms Flinn said despite non-graphic images, the rest of the campaign had already been subject to significant censorship by the Outdoor Media Association.

Yarra Trams' guidelines also state it cannot take advertising that are political or activist campaigns.

"They could have told us right away that they wouldn’t do it. It took us a long time to get that answer, so we ended up losing out, but we are hoping that this incident will cause people to see the hypocrisy," she said.