Stop making fun of bullrunning: appeal to Unilever
28 June 2007
Unilever has been asked to stop making fun out of Spanish bullrunning. ICABS made the call after learning of a bullrun video game on a website promoting the company's Sure for Men product.
The game on the Power Pamplona website allows players to control a character as he tries to outrun a charging bull and avoid being hit. It has been produced to coincide with Extreme Pamplona, an event to be held at the end of July and described on the site as being similar to the Pamplona bullrun. "Just like in the real Pamplona, you'll be chased through the streets [and] the five who make it to the bullring first qualify for the final," it states.
Responding to an email from ICABS, a spokesperson for Extreme Pamplona said that they are not an official sponsor or partner of the Pamplona Bull Run and do not endorse the event itself.
"The Extreme Pamplona event is a completely separate entity taking place independently of the cultural bull run," he explained. "This event is designed to link our product to an adrenalin fuelled chase and as such we chose a European location that is synonymous with chasing. At no point during this event will any bulls be harmed, killed or risk sustaining injury."
However, in a fax to Unilever's head office in London, ICABS argued that the game trivialises bullrunning. We pointed out that it could encourage players to take part in the real Pamplona bullrun, an event which not only involves cruelty to animals but has also resulted in 13 people losing their lives over the years.
Please join our call to Unilever to withdraw the game and stop publicising bullrunning in its online and television marketing campaigns.
To whom it concerns:
I appeal to Unilever to stop using the theme of bullrunning in its current television and internet marketing campaigns.
I refer in particular to a bullrun game on the Power Pamplona website which invites players to play the "Sure for Men Extreme Pamplona Online Chase." This involves controlling a character in his attempt to outrun a bull. The game includes a bullring setting and a background image showing a matador waving a cape at a bull.
Although the Sure for Men chase depicted is unconnected to the actual Pamplona bullrun, this advertising campaign gives publicity to Pamplona as a bullrunning town and could encourage players to take part in the real event which involves animal cruelty as well as extreme danger to human participants.
Please withdraw this game and avoid using bullrun-related themes in future advertising campaigns.
Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.
Scenes from Unilever's bullrun game
See also: Unilever urged to drop bullrun TV ad