Egypt's Consumer Protection Agency banned a Ramadan ad by prominent Egyptian food and beverage company Juhayna this week, after the popular ad stirred up controversy.
The ban, which included three other Ramadan ads that likewise proved controversial, was instated because the ads violated personal dignity, disrespected public decency, societal customs and traditions and didn't adhere to public morality, according to the CPA's statement .
The CPA stated that Juhayna's ad, which features three toddlers talking about breastfeeding, includes "sexual innuendos that are understood in the context of the dialogue through using a term, in addition to using children in violation of the standard specification for the ad and promoting untrue results by showing that the company's milk is better than the mother's milk."
In the ad, one toddler is crying because he misses his mother's breast milk, which he refers to as "dondoo." The two other toddlers make fun of him for continuing to be breastfed as he could be drinking Juhayna's milk, with one saying "how are you ever going to be a man if you continue to rely on dondoo?" The ad ends with the toddler saying "You'll never forget about the dondoo."
The ad, which is part of a wider campaign by Juhayna featuring the talking toddlers, went viral online soon after its release, with jokes and memes about the ad trending on Twitter. The ad attracted a wide variety of praise and criticism on social media.
Many users praised the idea of using talking toddlers for comedic effect, with some considering Juhayna's Ramadan campaign one of the most creative this year.
Others criticized the ad for promoting an unhealthy lifestyle choice by encouraging mothers to sidestep breastfeeding for Juhayna's financial benefit. Some said that its content was demeaning to women and others said that it used cheap tactics to create controversy as a way of getting more exposure for the campaign in Ramadan's overcrowded ad space.
"Do you really find Juhayna's children ad to be normal? Because I found a lot of people defending it and admiring it and I can't tell if the issue is with me or that people just like cheapness," wrote one user on Twitter.
The CPA, which also banned similarly controversial commercials for Egyptian companies Dice, Cottonil and Ahram Beverages, gave the four companies a 24-hour warning to take the ads off the air before taking legal action against them.
Head of the CPA Atef Yacoub called on media outlets to participate in not allowing these ads to circulate as they "use unethical and tacky persuasive methods to promote their products through incitement to breaking the law, justifying disgrace and disrespecting moral values."