Polarizing Katjes ad on everyone’s lips

After, among others, the Bavarian Farmers’ Association (BBV) filed a complaint with the German Advertising Council, Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner also expressed criticism of the commercial, thereby prompting the animal rights organization PETA and its supporters to take action. Meanwhile, the German Press Agency (dpa) corrected a statement from Advertising Council Director Katja Heintschel von Heinegg, and over 80 farmers protested in front of the Katjes factory in Emmerich, Rhineland. Not without awarding the confectionery manufacturer a golden dung bin “for the shittiest advertising of the year.”


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Cool without Cow?

But let’s start from the beginning: Since the release of the commercial “Cool without Cow” commercial, in which a legion of distressed dairy cows are depicted in gloomy images heading towards the milking parlor, German farmers have been in turmoil. They consider the commercial with the claim “Every life is valuable. And cows are not milking machines. Not even for chocolate” unjustified and discriminatory, as it implies that all dairy farmers exploit their cows. The 15-second TV commercial promotes the vegan chocolate brand Chocjes, launched earlier this year, which is made from an oat drink. The spot is set to be aired nationwide on all major TV channels as well as on Instagram and Facebook. In addition to the BBV, the Landvolk Diepholz has also filed a complaint with the German Advertising Council.

Said or not said, that is the question

The Advertising Council demanded a statement from Katjes. According to dpa, Advertising Council Chairwoman Heintschel von Heinegg reportedly described the commercial as “one-sided and exaggerated,” which she felt misrepresented her position, as she had only quoted the German Farmers’ Association. As of deadline, there has been no official statement from the confectionery company. A Katjes spokeswoman merely confirmed receiving the Advertising Council’s request and stated they were reviewing it. In an interview with the Rheinische Post, Katjes defended the commercial, saying, “Every day, one sees the idealization of the dairy industry in advertising. It should also be possible to present the other side.”