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Decadent Ice Cream Ad Sparks Hysteria in Iran

August 7, 2021
2 min read
Decadent Ice Cream Ad Sparks Hysteria in Iran

A Persian-language ice cream commercial has been “expeditiously” pulled from Instagram by the order of Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance because of its “deviant” content.

An informed source at the ministry told Iranian media that “action” would be taken against the Tehran-based brand responsible for the advert, Domino Dairy.

“This teaser was posted online without a permit,” they said. “But an hour after it was published, after it was discovered by our colleagues in the advertising field, the clip – which was produced and published in violation of the regulations – was removed from the page of the company in question, and they were served with the required warnings and admonitions.”

The Domino advert showed an attractive, happy-looking woman in a loose-fitting headscarf driving through mountain scenery before parking her car and taking a sensuous bite from a chocolate ice cream.

The product appeared to be a local copycat version of Magnum, a global brand owned by British conglomerate Unilever. But it was the provocative image of a woman enjoying a frozen treat in public, not the rip-off, that whipped Iranian state media into a frenzy.

Regime-aligned outlets wasted no time in condemning the clip - officially, at least. On Friday, Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, called the commercial “disgusting”. 

“Recently a famous ice cream maker brand published a video clip that drew reactions from social media users,” Fars breathlessly reported. “In this clip, a woman, improperly dressed and with totally erotic and sexual mannerisms and gestures, which are precisely at the heart of the commercial, promotes the ice cream by eating it.”

Other media outlets howled that the commercial “misused women”. For the past 40 years, the charged term “misuse of women” has been used in legal arguments to censor and shut down publishers that do not toe the official ideological line.

Under Chapter 8 of the Islamic Republic’s Advertisement Laws and Regulations, the wide-ranging “misuse” of women, men and children is prohibited in commercial ads.

Chapter 9 of the same law also states that commercials and ads must not give “preferential treatment” to males or females. Elsewhere, it stipulates, “The use of sexual attraction in advertisements is banned”.

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