Charlie's withdraws 'irresponsible' fireworks ad

By Elizabeth Binning

Add a comment

The drink firm Charlie's has withdrawn an animated advertisement showing children firing skyrockets at each other's heads and blowing up letterboxes, after concerns that it was "socially irresponsible".

The "Just like the good old days" commercial, which started running on TVNZ this week, featured an animated Marc Ellis saying, "Call us old fashioned but at Charlie's we love the ways things used to be when we were nippers".

Images showed a firework exploding between a boy's teeth, boys aiming rockets at each other's heads and a letterbox exploding. At the end, after the boys have gone home for a soda, a lemon with several firecrackers in it also explodes. The advertisement was described by the Fire Service as dangerous and socially irresponsible, especially given the timing, with fireworks going on sale today. The commercial was withdrawn yesterday.

Acting Fire Service National Commander Paul McGill said Guy Fawkes was one of the busiest times of the year for firefighters.

Last year they attended more than 1700 fireworks-related calls, a three-fold increase on normal callouts, while police responded to 1500 fireworks-related public nuisance complaints.

The St John Ambulance service also attends a number of fireworks-related injuries each year.

"The last thing emergency services need, particularly at this time of the year, is a television and web campaign that highlights and promotes the type of incidents we spend far too much of our time responding to," said Mr McGill.

"It's really disappointing that an advertiser will use this occasion to produce a commercial that glorifies behaviour that was unacceptable 20 years ago and is unacceptable today."

Charlie's marketing manager Ron Curteis said the company did not realise the extent of the problems firefighters still experienced with fireworks and agreed to pull the advert.

"Hand on heart, we didn't realise it was still a big issue today. Having spoken to the Fire Service and the concern around it from the police force and ambulance service, in the interest of the good work those guys do we've made sure it comes off air."

But, while the advert will no longer run on television, Mr Curteis said it would probably remain on the company's website.

Marc Ellis, Charlie's co-founder, said the Fire Service might have been a "bit sensitive" about the adverts, but they did a good job and he understood where they were coming from.

"If you look at the ads, they say if you put a double happy in your teeth you're a moron. We aren't condoning that activity, but I can understand their [firefighters'] sensitivity. It's a pretty horrid time of year for them."

Your views

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 21 Dec 2014 22:42:54 Processing Time: 1855ms