New Decisions: Humorous Comments, River Water Consumption and More

The following decisions have been published on the ASA website:

Comment Mitigated by Humour and Context 

The Vodafone television advertisement showed a family watching the All Blacks playing the British Lions. The family members were in different locations communicating via video chat on their phones. During the conversation the mother said “Oh come on – the boys are on form”, and the daughter replied “So much form, what a view”. The son who was at the actual game said “Yeah. Still doesn’t beat the view I’ve got”. The advertisement concluded with a voiceover “Connecting you to the All Blacks like never before”.

The Complainant said the advertisement was sexist and offensive as it portrayed a woman watching rugby for the “view” of the male players. The Complainant said it promoted a double standard of sexual harassment and it would not be acceptable if the genders were reversed.

The Advertiser said the daughter was portrayed as an All Blacks fan sharing her enthusiasm for the game with her family. Her comment was intended to be light-hearted and tongue in cheek.

The Complaints Board said the advertisement employed a subtle double entendre which was not sexually explicit and was mitigated by humour and the context in which the woman appeared.  The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

Ad Did Not Claim River Water Consumption Was Safe Everywhere

The YouTube advertisement for Tourism New Zealand shows a ‘journey’ around various New Zealand locations, including an image of a woman at the Blue Pools in Haast raising cupped hands of water to her face. The scene then cuts to the woman smelling green foliage. The advertisement ends with the 100% Pure New Zealand slogan.

There were two complaints received for this advertisement. Both Complaints were about the woman in the advertisement cupping water in her hands and lifting it up to her face. Both Complainants took this to mean the woman was about to drink the water and were concerned this gave the false impression that it was safe to drink from New Zealand rivers when recent studies indicate otherwise.

The Advertiser said the woman does not actually drink the water. As she raises a handful of water to her face the scene cuts away and transitions to where she is raising a handful of leafy greens to her face to smell.

The majority of the Complaints Board agreed the advertisement was an aspirational view of New Zealand and that it did not claim the water from all rivers in New Zealand was safe to drink. Furthermore the image of the woman lifting the water to her mouth was a fleeting shot and not a major focus of the overall advertisement. In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

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