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Club 18-30 sparks fresh controversy as animal lobby hits out at 'exploitative' ads

LONDON - A cinema commercial for holiday operator Club 18-30 featuring dogs having sex has prompted angry reactions from animal charities.

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The 60-second commercial, created by Publicis-owned Saatchi & Saatchi and which broke in cinemas yesterday, shows a voyeuristic mongrel watching the activities of holiday-makers in bed.

The dog then runs off through a Spanish village encouraging similar activity among poodles, sheepdogs and Afghan hounds, which engage in a variety of sexual positions, replicating the ones the mongrel saw the humans performing.

Animal charity the RSPCA was among the groups attacking the ads. It said the ads had exposed the dogs in the films to "ridicule and indignity", according to a spokesman.

The spokesman added that it would act "vociferously" if it emerged that the dogs had been harmed in any way.

The Kennel Club of Great Britain added that it found the ads "exploitative and offensive".

Kennel Club spokesman Philip Buckley said: "This kind of ad is exploitative. We don't want to be party poopers, but I would imagine the majority of dog owners will find it very offensive -- and there are 15m of those in Britain."

James Griffiths, account director at Saatchis, defended the ads as none of the dogs were hurt and they did not "do it" for real.

"We're not aiming at the kind of people who go to Crufts. Some of the audience will think it's undignified but I don't think our audience will -- I think they'll find it funny," Griffiths said.

This is not the first time Club 18-30 advertising has come under fire. A campaign in 1995 involving posters printed with catchlines such as "Beaver Espagna" and "Girls, can we interest you in a package holiday" next to a picture of a man in boxer shorts led to 500 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.

A recent controversial press campaign showed pictures of holiday-makers enjoying what on first glance looked like normal holiday activity. On closer inspection, however, it appeared that they were all engaged in some kind of sexual activity.

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