Anti-smoking ad censors fast food

By Kathryn Powley

The advertisement removed the Coca Cola signage and the 'Top Taste Chicken 'n Chips' sign was changed. Photo / Janna Dixon
The advertisement removed the Coca Cola signage and the 'Top Taste Chicken 'n Chips' sign was changed. Photo / Janna Dixon

Want a chip? Well, you can't have one, bro.

Chips and fried chicken - like a bottle full of baby formula - have been cut from that controversial anti-smoking advert.

The shot of All Black Piri Weepu bottle feeding his six month-old daughter was cut after breast-feeding lobbyists feared the image would undermine their message.

The clip then shows rapper Young Sid walking down the street in Otara. The Health Sponsorship Council revealed other changes were also made. In the ad, an overhead sign reads: "Top Taste" but the real sign in Otara says: "Top Taste Chicken and Chips".

When Young Sid stops to shake a fan's hand outside a shop there is an air-brushed grey circle on the window - but the real window has a circular Coca-Cola logo displayed.

Health Sponsorship Council chief executive Iain Potter said they didn't want to promote messages or products that competed with their healthy eating messages.

They'd sought advice on the bottle-feeding image, but decided to make the other changes themselves.

"We wanted to make sure that the Smokefree message was heard and understood - part of our reason to remove the bottle-feeding image was we didn't want it to distract from the Smokefree message."

Young Sid couldn't be reached for comment, but Otara resident and mother of five Tracy Walters - who went to school with him - was perplexed by the censorship. "They should have just kept it real," she said.

As a local, she quickly spotted the changes, and said the ad was "dishonest".

"I see no reason why they've gone and changed it when the ad's about not smoking."

Ironically another government-funded organisation with an important message has made a hit ad thanks to chips.

Andy Knackstedt, New Zealand Transport Agency's media manager, said the anti-drink driving "Ghost Chips" ad had drawn no criticism for its reference to hot chips in the afterlife. The ad, which had 1.8 million Youtube hits in only three months, was a "roaring success".

- Herald on Sunday

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