New Decisions: Dairy Cow Diets, Car Yards and More

The following decisions have been published on the ASA website:

Grass-Fed Dairy Cows Advertisement Not Misleading

A Fonterra television advertisement features five farmers talking about their farms. The conversation topics include the family history on the farm, the climate and the soil. One of the farmers says “The soil that we farm is just superb volcanic soil, just lends itself to growing grass. That’s what we do and that’s what we’ve done for 100 years – making the best milk in the world.” The advertisement included images of the farmers and different farming landscapes.

A complaint was made claiming the advertisement was misleading because it says “milk is produced by green grass but it is well known that many farmers use imported palm kernel as animal food”.
The Advertiser said “There is no express claim in the Advertisement that milk is produced by green grass” and “the main feed source for the lifetime of dairy cows in New Zealand is consumed directly from pasture.” The Advertiser said that while palm kernel expeller is given to New Zealand dairy cows, grass feed (ie grass, grass silage and forage crops – mainly legumes and brassicas) makes up 85% of the cows’ diet.
The Complaints Board agreed the advertisement was not misleading and did not breach the Code of Ethics. The Board said the advertisement does not make or imply any claim that no supplementary feed is given to New Zealand dairy cows or that they are fed one hundred per cent on grass.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

Car Yard Advertisement Removed

The television advertisement for 2 Cheap Cars depicted a New Zealand European man, the customer, talking to a Japanese car salesman at a car yard. The customer opens the conversation saying “Hey, reckon 2 Cheap Cars do the best Japanese imports do you?” The salesman responds to this, and subsequent comments, with the phrase “Ah so”, while giving a bow. Without any further comment from the salesman the customer then selects a car to purchase. The salesman once again says “Ah so”. The words “Ahhhh sooold” then appear across the screen.

The Complaints Board received twenty-four complaints about this advertisement. The Complainants said they found the advertisement perpetuated racist stereotypes by portraying Asian people as unable to speak English clearly, subservient, or subject to bullying, and only interested in making sales. Three of the complainants also believed the Japanese word “Ah so”, which translates to “Ah, so that’s how it is” was intended to be heard as “arse hole”.

The Advertiser said the advertisement was approved by the CAB before airing on television and was viewed by more than ten Japanese native speakers, none of whom found it to be offensive in any way. The Advertiser also said the Directors of 2 Cheap Cars felt they should be able to express their own “native” culture.

The Complaints Board said one of the principles of self-regulation is to encourage advertisers to take remedial action in response to complaints. Noting the self-regulatory action taken by the Advertiser in removing the advertisement as soon they were notified of the complaints, the Complaints Board ruled that the matter was Settled.