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Unilever urged to drop bullrun TV ad
20 June 2007

The Unilever company has been urged to drop a television advert which uses a bullrunning theme to promote a deodorant. In a letter of complaint, ICABS stated: "We are thoroughly disappointed that your company felt it was appropriate to associate a product with an event which has been internationally condemned for its animal cruelty."

The Sure for Men advert, currently being shown on Irish and British television, starts off with a man packing for a holiday to the "Running of the Bulls, Spain". In his suitcase are a Pamplona guide book and a Pamplona street map. Throughout the ad we see him running from various creatures (bears, wolves, rhinoceros) before he is eventually welcomed into a bullring at the end.

In a letter of complaint to Unilever, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, pointed out the reality of bullrunning:

  • Electric shock prods are used to frighten the bulls into stampeding
  • Along the route, the bulls are at risk of sustaining injuries, including broken bones
  • Bulls used in the bullrun will later be brutally killed in a bullring
  • Over the years, numerous people have been injured at the bullrun; at least thirteen have died as a result. During last year's Pamplona festival, an American man was left paralysed after being hit by a cow.

"As we have an ongoing campaign against bullfighting and bullrunning in which we encourage Irish holidaymakers to avoid supporting this cruelty, we are calling on Unilever to withdraw this offensive advert," we added.


Please join our call to Ulilever to withdraw the Pamplona ad and to give a commitment that cruelty-based themes will not be used in future marketing campaigns.

Sample Letter
(Please compose your own personal letter if possible. If you do not have time to do this, please send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Unilever PLC
PO Box 68, Unilever House
Blackfriars, London EC4P 4BQ
United Kingdom
Email from:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7822 5252
Fax: +44 (0)20 7822 5951

To whom it concerns:

I wish to make a complaint about the current television advert for Sure for Men. I find it extremely offensive that Unilever is using a bullrun theme to promote one of its products. Bullrunning, as you may be aware, involves terrible cruelty to animals - electric shock prods are used to make the bulls run, they are at risk of sustaining injuries (including broken bones) and afterwards, in the local bullring, they are brutally tortured and killed. Furthermore, bullrunning can be fatal for the human participants - over the years, at least 13 people have lost their lives at the Pamplona run.

Surely, this is not the type of activity Unilever wants associated with its company. I hope you can urgently act to have this offensive advert withdrawn.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.


Scenes from Unilever's "Sure for Men" advert

Scene from Sure advert
A Pamplona guide book and street map in the suitcase of the television advert's main character.

Scene from Sure advert
The man has arrived in Spain and looks out to see the beginning of the bullrun.

Scene from Sure advert
The Sure for Men character taking part in a bullrun. We are shown scenes of him running from various animals.

Scene from Sure advert
At the end of the Sure advert, the character runs into a bullfighting arena.

Scene from Sure advert
He is welcomed into the bullring by a bullfighting character.

Photos: The reality of the Pamplona bullrun

Bull sticking horn into body of falling man
A man is gored by a bull during the Pamplona bullrunning festival. (Photo: AP)

Man on ground next to bull
The horn of a bull dangerously makes contact with the head of a man during the cruel Pamplona bullrun. (Photo: Yahoo)

Bulls running along street
A man falls to the ground during the Pamplona bullrun as one of the bulls gores a spectator.

Black bull on ground behind barrier with tongue limply hanging out
Another victim of the Pamplona bullrun. The bulls are beaten and prodded to make them run and are later killed brutally in the local bullring. (Photo: BBC)

Bullfighting Gallery - Image 2
At the end of a bullrun, the bulls are brutally tortured and killed in a bullring. (Photo: ADDA)

More information about bullfighting

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