Ad's 'sexism' complaint dismissed (+videos)

By Kieran Campbell

An ad for champagne that featured men crying because their girlfriends were on a night out together has been ruled okay by the BSA. Photo / YouTube
An ad for champagne that featured men crying because their girlfriends were on a night out together has been ruled okay by the BSA. Photo / YouTube

Complaints about ads that "insulted" Christchurch, "mocked" God, were "sexist" towards crying boyfriends and featured a man wanting to show another man "his sausage" have been dismissed by the complaints authority.

In recent rulings, the Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB) decided there was a lack of evidence to support some complaints, including that making a joke of crying men was sexist.

A champagne ad showed a series of men "crying, staring wistfully into the middle distance or out the window and slumped on chairs holding their heads" because their partners were on a women's night.

It was criticised as being "blatantly sexist" by a complainant who claimed if the genders were reversed there would be an outcry.

"I've had enough of sexism against men in the media. This ad isn't even attempting to be humorous. It just shows men in emotional distress, then mocks them.

It's sick," the complainant said.

The ASCB said there were precedents to show the level of acceptance of offensiveness could vary, depending on gender.

It dismissed the complaint and ruled the champagne ad was "exaggerated and hyperbolic" for satirical humour.

Another complainant alleged the father of the "Countdown family" made "highly insulting" comments that he did not want to move to Christchurch.

In a television ad, the father, who is a construction worker, rolled his eyes as he said there was not a lot of work "unless we moved down south".

The complainant claimed the "down south" comment could be interpreted as Christchurch because of the "clear need for construction workers" in the earthquake recovery.

"I find his body language in respect to the thought of moving to 'down south' or Christchurch highly insulting to the people of Christchurch and the rebuild effort," the complainant said.

The ASCB found Countdown was neither disparaging of Christchurch nor offensive to its people.

While noting that Christchurch's construction industry was busy after the earthquakes and the ad's implication would be that jobs existed in Christchurch, the ASCB said the city was not specifically mentioned.

A Christian complainant told the board that a Ferrero Rocher chocolate ad, depicting gods of Olympus and showing the treats falling from the heavens, was "totally offensive" and "mocking and demeaning [of] God".

The complainant said the commercial "influences people's image of God, particularly children".

The complaints board ruled there was nothing in the advertisement that attacked "the tenets of Christianity or mocked the Christian God".

The complainant had taken "an extreme interpretation of an advertisement", the ASCB said.

An advertisement for a meat company where one man offered to show another man "his sausage" may have been in "poor taste" but it did not breach the rules, the ASCB said.

The Franklin Country Meats ad on Newstalk ZB featured one man asking "in a sexual manner" for the other man to see his sausage, which he says is "nicely wrapped and waiting for him", a complainant said.

"There is no other meaning to this conversation other than explicit sexual connotations," the complainant said.

The ASCB said the radio station "promotes itself as aimed at an intelligent, informed, news-aware and savvy adult audience" and while the ad "may be in poor taste, the innuendo did not reach the threshold to breach the Advertising Code".

It was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, the board ruled.

- APNZ

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