Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Advertising Standards Authority

In New Zealand we have an entity called "The Advertising Standards Authority". Basically, it seeks to set standards on advertising. For example, if advertising food, you can not make claims of food being a complete meal unless it's specifically so.

Anyway, recently there was an advertisement in Auckland for Habitual Fix. The ad shows a banana flashing a strawberry and pear. The image is a cartoon though quite shockingly done. The banana is parting it's skin to reveal a long protruding thing (the rest of the banana) while the pear, holding a handbag, and the strawberry, looking terribly distressed, is running away.

This ad was once on billboards, soon taken down, but continued on the back of bus tickets and receipts. Less visible but very much in the hands of children. The Habitual Fix profile on Facebook featured the ad. In other words, this was quite solidly aimed at Children.

So why am I talking about this ad? Because the Advertising Standards Authority deemed that the advertisement in question does not breach any standards. The reasons given?

"...and younger children that may see the advertisement, in this context, were unlikely to interpret the image as sexual..."

"... the image was clearly hyperbolic..."

I have to admit - reading the material on it (Available for download here) the defence was quite good - fruit don't have genders (despite the fact that the pear is wearing a pair of high heels and is carrying a handbag and that the strawberry is wearing lipstick).

Getting over the initial amusement of the ad, you have to then wonder, if there is no standard that says advertising can not contain images of sexual crime, then really, what is the Advertising Standards Authority there for? It turns out, that if I were to advertise something using an image of a carrot raping a tomato, it doesn't breach any standards that is upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority because vegetables don't have gender.

So to anyone who thinks that this image is shocking, write to you local politician asking them why the Advertising Standards Authority exists when it doesn't have the basest of values? Do standards need to be reviewed to specifically exclude sexual crimes from being depicted in advertising?

No comments:

Post a Comment