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Bono and Clooney's F-word campaign banned in the UK

ONE’s latest campaign hopes to raise awareness about the Horn of Africa famine but it has been banned in Britain because it breaches political advertising rules.

British actor Clive Owen also stars in the ad.
British actor Clive Owen also stars in the ad.
Image: ONE via YouTube

Updated 3.44pm

A TELEVISION ADVERT featuring a host of celebrities – including Bono, George Clooney and Colin Farrell – drops the F-word again and again.

The word, which is bleeped out, is not what you think as the ‘F’ stands for famine.

The campaign by the ONE organisation aims to raise awareness about the famine and droughts which are currently ravishing Somalia and affecting millions of people in the Horn of Africa.

Writing on ONE’s website, Bono said, “I’ve been known to drop the occasional expletive, but the most offensive F word to me is not the one that goes f***. It’s F***** — the famine happening in Somalia.”

More than 30,000 children have died in the past three months in the region, Clooney says during the ad, which has been billed as a public service announcement in the US.

“It isn’t meant to shock. We hope it makes people stop and think. Think about the fact that this situation is not some act of God or nature.  Drought may be inevitable but famine is not,” explained the organisation on its blog.

The one-minute broadcast – which was shown in the US on Tuesday – has not been cleared to air by UK advertising regulators but not because of the implied expletives.

Clearcast, the advertising watchdog, has said that the announcement is in breach of political advertising rules, according to ONE.

The regulator told the organisation that from their “professional standpoint… the content of the ad [is] in breach of section 7 of the BCAP code and therefore unacceptable for broadcast within the UK”.

Section 7 is about political advertising and exists to stop singular political parties essentially buying airtime.

ONE claims they are nonpartisan, without any affiliation to political parties or other political organisations so should not be subject to the rules.

However, the group was told that because the ad itself is not a traditional money raising ad, it seems to be aiming to motivate and enlist people to create change.

The F Word – Famine is the Real Obscenity features a string of other famous faces, including Christy Turlington, Jessica Alba, Joe Jonas, Ewan McGregor, John Long, Annie Lennox and Kristen Davis.

Watch it here:

Read: Ireland increases aid for Horn of Africa famine victims>

More: 750,000 Somalis now at risk of death from famine – UN>

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