The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint over a Pak'nSave advertisement that alleged it was offensive to the vegetarian and vegan community.

The radio advertisement promoting meat week said: "Tofu turkey, soybean chicken, coconut bacon, mushroom mince pies. Ah, nice try veges, but you'll never beat actual meat ..."

"I found the Pak'nSave ad promoting the meat specials highly offensive to the vegetarian/vegan community," the complainant said.

"It disrespects products that many people depend on for nutrients, that are more environmentally friendly to produce and consume and that are more ethical to animals.


"Whether someone is vegan/vegetarian or not … these are quality, ethical products that should not be made a mockery of. By mocking the product, Pak'nSave are mocking the people who consume them and the good it does for the world to have these products. This is NOT right!!"

In its ruling, the ASA accepted that some viewers would not find the advertisement humorous but said the humour used in promoting meet week was acceptable and would not likely cause serious or widespread offence.

The ASA also ruled there were no grounds to proceed after receiving a complaint about an advertisement for The Edge Safehouse on The Edge TV.

The television advertisement showed a masked man kidnapping the Edge breakfast hosts.

In each case the kidnapper placed a brown paper bag over the person's head. Dom was out jogging, Meg was in a supermarket car park and Randell was doing tai chi on a rugby field.

The voiceover says the hosts and a safe with $10,000 cash are in a house somewhere in New Zealand.

At the end of the advertisement the hosts are sitting inside a vehicle with their hands tied behind their backs.

The words "The Edge SAFEHOUSE Fed by Burger King" then appeared on the screen along with a banner and voice over that said "Play now at"


The complainant called the advertisement "disturbing" and said it minimises and trivialises the impact of violent crimes.

"The Edge are running a competition for a 'safe house completion'. The advertising video opens with a vulnerable looking young woman being abducted from a public place. A bag is shoved over her head, she is incapacitated, she is then dragged off. The impact is very disturbing. It mirrors the crime abduction, rape and possible murder. Approx 1 in 3 New Zealanders have been subject to sexual violence," the complainant said.

"Next, 2 males are grabbed the same way but with less violence. The 3 are then shown bound and gagged in a van. The advertising makes a joke of serious violent offending.

"It minimises and trivialises the impact and harm of such violent crimes. To a point it normalises the crime. It could work as a "how to" instruction video. It has no relevance to the competition it is promoting. It is extremely socially irresponsible for The Edge TV to broadcast this advertisement."

While the ASA did say the kidnapping scenario was in questionable taste, it was part of a promotion encouraging listeners to find the "kidnapped" radio hosts and $10,000 cash.

The ASA noted the advertisement was played on The Edge TV, an environment where it was likely most viewers would recognise the radio hosts and be aware of the promotion.

It ruled the advertisement did not reach the threshold to cause serious or widespread offence.

In another case, an Iko Iko shop in Ponsonby pulled a window display advertisement following two complaints to the ASA.

The advertisement read: "ZERO F**** GIVEN" – however only the 'U' was partially obscured by an asterisk.

One complainant said the sign used offensive language which was displayed in a very public manner, as well as in a store that sells children's toys.

The advertiser removed the advertisement and apologised for any offence.

As a result, the ASA took no further action.

The ASA also said it would take no further action against an Auckland ad agency who pulled a billboard promoting Beehive Premier Bacon.

The ASA noted the advertiser's self-regulatory action in removing the billboard and co-operative engagement regarding the matter.