Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Most Complained About Ads of 2009 - Are You Offended?

I love politically correct people. They are so gosh darn funny. Especially when they get all up in arms about jeans or clothes dryers or soft drink cans.

The Advertising Standards Bureau released the Top 10 Most Complained About Ads for 2009, with a billboard advertisment for Gasp jeans taking the number 1 spot:

Only displayed in Victoria, a community group distributed a form letter, resulting in about 250 complaints. In one of my favourite lines from the media release, CEO of the ASB, Fiona Jolly, said that many of these complaints were "from locations where the ad could not be seen".

It's a distracting ad, sure, but the ABS dismissed the case, hopefully because they are reasonable people, who, like the rest of the reasonable part of the population, understand that:
-GASP are not suggesting everybody go topless, though it is only marginally worse than the current pantless-leggings look;
-A topless svelte model is less offensive than an overweight frumpy grumblebum;
-The ad is not offensive to women, the underlying message being that these jeans are sexy, and don't we all want to feel a little bit like that once in a while;
-The jeans are actually pretty fugly and thus more offensive than the hint of boob.

It's important that consumers have a voice. An online campaign via Mamamia led to Cotton On Kids withdrawing some completely inappopriate slogan t-shirts from their stores. Everybody has the right to voice their opinion (hence, the blogosphere). But bloody hell, we as a populace overreact a fair bit, don't we?

Why don't people worry more about climate change? Or wealth distribution? Or war or famine or animal cruelty? (I know they do, but it seems people who ring the police becuase someone across the road left a transit van parke don the street for more then an hour, and the police actually come along to investigate, have a louder voice. That's a true story by the way, between two of our neighbours. Yeah.)

Number 4 on the list was an ad for Target involving people getting in and out of a clothes dryer to dry their jeans. The issue was "health and safety" and Target withdrew their ad. But is mankind so fecking stupid that we would all actually assume that you can dry your jeans BY WEARING THEM IN THE CLOTHES DRYER? Surely we give ourselves no credit, we are taking away any semblence of self-responsibility. The sick thing is, if somebody had actually done that and injured themselves, they could have successfully sued Target. Much like prams which have tags telling parents to 'remove child before folding'. What kind of fucked-up bureaucracry are we living in?!

The Advanced Medical Insitute received 3 places in the Top 10, due to the portrayal of "sex, sexuality and nudity". Ok, so it's not totally appropriate to be bombarded during the school run with a radio ad where people talk about orgasms; but on the flip side, aren't the Advanced Medical Institute simply advertising their product?

KFC got a rap on the knuckles for an ad where a man lies about owning a car when asked to move it, so he can stay where he is and enjoy his bucket of heart-disease inducing goodness; and Cadbury Schweppes a light spanking for a Solo ad where a man litters the can after finishing his drink. I've never even remotely considered Solo a Health and Safety (Section 2.6) concern. The only time I've considered KFC liars was when they advertised some horrid potato and gravy/corn/grated cheese concotion as 'tasty'. Both cases were dismissed.

The last year saw more complaints than ever to the ASB. Either this is because communication is easier then ever, or because we are shitscared about the wider issues facing humanity and channelling our bubbling outrage to more menial issues in order to cocoon ourselves. That offends me so much more then a man in a tutu.

Sources: mUmbrella, bandt,

1 comment:

  1. I've got an issue with that Gasp ad.
    Sure, it's sexy, but it's a kind of sexy you can only achieve if you're thin, curvy, blonde, topless, wearing prostitute shoes and tight jeans.
    It's a sexy which says you need to objectify yourself if you want to be something better than what you are.
    It's the kind of sexy which makes most women feel inadequate - until we own the jeans, of course.
    If you feel inadequate about something as innate as your sexuality, how're you gonna have the confidence to handle the 'wider issues facing humanity'? The Gasp ad doesn't stand alone but adds to the cumulative effect of magazine covers, music videos, video games, films - all sorts of emotive media where women's non-sexual or non-aesthetic qualities are all but ignored. I'm glad so many people complained!
    (my 2 cents)