New Decisions: Afrikaans Language, First Aid Fundraising and More

The following decisions have been published:

Africaans Slang Usage Acceptable

A Burger King television advertisement for their ‘Tastes of the World’ campaign showed French, Korean and Afrikaans speakers describing their respective burgers.  The Afrikaans segment has subtitles which say “Up to NZ?  Grab the mighty South African burger from BK.  BBQ sauce and two flame-grilled patties.  Mean aye?”

The Complainant said the translation of the phrase “The mighty South African burger” to “Die moerse Suid Afrikaanse burger” was incorrect and said the word moerse was offensive to Afrikaans speaking New Zealanders as the translation was not mighty, but an offensive swear word.

The Advertiser said the word was hyperbolic and used to explain big or large. It quoted the definition from the Urban dictionary which listed moerse as a slang term meaning really big or numerous.  The Advertiser provided two examples of the use of the word in the public domain as part of everyday news articles in South Africa.

The Complaints Board said the examples of news articles which used the word moerse in headlines supported the view that it was acceptable for it to be used in the public domain. It agreed the word in the advertisement was used as hyperbolic slang and did not reach the threshold to offend. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

First Aid Fundraising Not Misleading

The St John television advertisement for its annual fundraising appeal had a paramedic who said “My job is to serve you and your community.  The truth is we’re going to more and more call outs every day.  The demand keeps growing and the costs keep rising.  Sometimes people forget we’re a charity.  Please donate today for new ambulances and life-saving equipment.  We have to be there for you, it’s that simple.  Show us your heart of gold.”

The Complainant said the advertisement was misleading consumers by advertising its ambulance service nationwide despite the fact St John do not provide emergency call-out services in the Wellington region.

The Advertiser said the annual fund-raising appeal was for ambulances and other life-saving equipment and confirmed that although it did not provide the emergency call out service for the Wellington region, it did offer a range of other services.

The Complaints Board agreed the advertisement stated it was seeking donations for more than just ambulances and accepted it had not been possible to exclude the Wellington region when purchasing advertising space. The majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement was not misleading. A minority of the Complaints Board said Wellington consumers could be misled by the advertisement’s focus on the emergency call-out service and the imagery and references to funding for ambulances. However, in accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.