New Decisions: Swear Words, Sale Pricing and More

The following decisions have been published on the ASA website:

Swear word ruled not offensive in movie advertisement

A television advertisement promoting Village Roadshow’s film “Red Dog True Blue” included short clips from the film which is set in Western Australia. One of the excerpts showed a man saying “Where’s my bloody shaving cream?” In the following shot was a dog, which appeared to have shaving cream on its face.

The Complainant said they were appalled an advertisement which contained the swear word “bloody” would be played during a children’s television programme.

The Advertiser said the advertisement received a “G” Commercial Approval Bureau (CAB) rating and the word “bloody” was used purely as “an intensifier (to intensify the comedy where the dog steals the shaving cream)”.

A majority of the Complaints Board agreed the word “bloody” was used in a non-threatening way, in a humorous context, and did not reach the threshold required to cause serious or widespread offence. A minority of the Complaints Board said the placement of the advertisement, in the morning, during children’s programming, was inappropriate and a breach of the Code of Ethics.   In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board agreed the advertisement was not in breach of the Code of Ethics and the complaint was Not Upheld.

Service error, not misleading advertising

A television advertisement for a sale at Early Settler opened with the voiceover “It’s Early Settler’s hot summer sale with up to 50% off hot summer ranges.” An image of a double bed was displayed with the text “Now $549 – 50% off”.

The Complainant said they saw the television advertisement and the bed was discounted by 50%. The Complainant said they believe the bed was falsely advertised because when they called the store the price quoted for the bed was $999.

The Advertiser said the bed in question was on sale for $549 which was more than 50% off the RRP price of $1049, but the Sales Associate that spoke to the Complainant gave the incorrect price. The Advertiser provided information verifying that their website and point of sale signage both had the correct price.

The Complaints Board accepted the Advertiser’s explanation that the bed was advertised at the correct price but the customer had received incorrect information about this from a. The Complaints Board agreed the advertisement was not misleading, so had not breached the Code of Ethics. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled to Not Uphold the complaint.