Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Drag queen tampon advert most offensive

Adverts featuring Libra tampons and female hygiene products received many complaints from television viewers.
Adverts featuring Libra tampons and female hygiene products received many complaints from television viewers.

A preen-off between a drag queen and a young woman has fallen foul of viewers and advertising watchdogs alike, causing greater offence than any other advert last year.

The Libra television ad, showing the woman "win" a competitive bathroom makeover when she pulls a tampon from her bag, received 53 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled it discriminated against transvestites.

Another advert on female hygiene products, in which naked women discussed keeping their "vaginas happy", was the fifth-most complained-about advert.

However, the Carefree Acti-fresh Panty Liners advert, which received 18 complaints, was deemed acceptable.

Whybin\TBWA New Zealand founder David Walden said advertisers wouldn't go out seeking to court controversy in a delicate matter such as female hygiene products.

"We want people to buy the product, we don't want to piss people off. It's a delicate area.

"I think it's a bit of light-hearted fun, it got attention, and yeah, some people were offended. I think it was actually fun.

"In our endeavours to entertain, a few people might find that we push the barriers a bit too far. If that's the case, so be it, otherwise advertising would be pretty bloody boring."

Second-most offensive was a Kiwibank advert showing a boy leap into a river without parental supervision, which received 52 complaints.

Complainants considered the advertisement would encourage children to challenge authority and disregard rules and the complaints board agreed, saying it encouraged a disregard for safety and could lead to copycat behaviour.

Also incurring the wrath of viewers was a "Jesus Cures Cancer" billboard at the Equippers Church in Hawkes Bay, attracting 29 complaints. It breached the advertising code on the grounds it was provocative enough to be likely to cause serious offence to those people who were dealing with, or knew people who were dealing with, cancer.

Twenty-five people complained about a Tui billboard which stated: "She clearly married Dotcom for his body. Yeah Right."

While intended to be humorous, the complaints board ruled it was derogatory to both Dotcom and his wife in a highly personal way which was not saved by the allowance for the use of humour.

There were 17 complaints registered about a condom advert featuring a woman "experiencing sexual pleasure", but this was deemed acceptable as the adverts were broadcast after 9.30pm.

Another ad which showed a cat deliberately injure itself so it could get to travel in the family Toyota to the vet drew 15 complaints for animal cruelty.

The complaints board found the ad was "hyperbolic" in nature and there were no grounds to proceed.

Overall, the total number of complaints last year was 1076, down from 1197 the previous year.

- Herald on Sunday

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