New Decisions: Earthquake Safety, Jeans Models and More

The following decisions have been published:

“Drop, Cover, and Hold” Ad OK
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management television advertisement featured an animation figure sheltering under a table to illustrate what people should do in an earthquake. The voiceover said “When an earthquake happens, immediately drop, cover and hold. Drop so you don’t get knocked off your feet. Cover your head and neck. Get under a desk or a table if you can. Hold until after the shaking stops.” The advertisement ended with the Civil Defence logo and website address.

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement was misleading because it presented inaccurate safety information. They said the safest place in an earthquake is beside a solid object within the ’triangle of life’, not under a table as portrayed in the advertisement.

The Chair acknowledged the Advertiser was entitled to present the “Drop, Cover, and Hold” method as providing the best overall chance of quickly protecting yourself during an earthquake. The Complainant’s reference to the “Triangle of Life” was an alternative theory and not one the Advertiser supported. The Chair confirmed this did not make the advertisement misleading. Accordingly, the Chair ruled that there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Jeans Advertisement Focused on the Product
The poster advertisement for Service Denim Stores showed a woman from behind wearing cut off denim Rolla’s shorts and a t-shirt with the Rolla’s logo on the back in red straddling a motorbike. The words “SERVICE (Denim Stores)” were printed over the woman’s back.

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement depicted women’s bodies for the sexual servicing of men, and women as sexual objects devoid of individuality. They also drew comparisons with the male version of the advertisement to illustrate the contrast in the advertisements.

The Advertiser said the text ‘Service Denim Store’ was the name of their store and related to their denim fitting service and the industrial theme they have throughout their stores. They stated they chose the text position because it was the centre of the poster.

The Complaints Board agreed a certain degree of sexuality was permissible in advertisements for jeans but there was no sexual implication drawn from the text and no allusion to a sexual act in the advertisement. It agreed the advertisement did not portray the woman in a way that was exploitative and degrading and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most people. The Complaints Board noted the ASA does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate on the names of products or brands, with the exception of alcohol products. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.