New Decisions: Fast Food, Anti-Littering and More

The following decisions have been published:

Fast Food Advertisement Placement OK

The McDonalds television advertisement showed a girl in various scenarios in the middle seat in the back of a car. She was shown tussling with her brothers, crammed in with a multitude of gardening supplies and stuck between her grandparents. The girl’s face lit up when she saw the McDonalds ‘golden arches’ and she eats a French fry after her father places a bag of McDonalds in the centre console where only she can reach them.

The Complainants were concerned the advertisement breached the Children and Young People’s Advertising Code because it was targeted at children and promoted an occasional food.

The Advertiser said the advertisement was targeted at, and appealed to, an adult audience and the consumption of a single French fry did not make the advertisement an occasional food advertisement.

The majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement was a product advertisement that promoted McDonalds fries, a product with high appeal to children and an occasional food. The majority also said the presentation of the advertisement, including the humour and the music and brand recognition with McDonalds would also appeal to children. However, the Complaints Board agreed that because the advertisement was placed where children were not a significant proportion of the likely audience, it was not in breach of the Children and Young Peoples Advertising Code. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld. 

Ad Did Not Negatively Stereotype Transgender People

Keep New Zealand Beautiful posted a video advertisement to their Facebook page which featured a “Mama Nature” character played by a male actor wearing a floral dress with a wig and foliage hair piece. Mama Nature is shown reclining on a park bench and a man is showing putting rubbish in a bin, to which Mama Nature says “Beautiful.” Similarly, a bus stop advertisement for Keep New Zealand Beautiful featured a static image of the Mama Nature character lying on their side covered in butterflies with the statement: “Mama Nature says KEEP NZ BE-YOO-DIFUL.”

The Complainant said the advertisement was offensive because it made fun of transgender people and reinforced negative stereotypes.

The Advertiser said Mama Nature is not a transgender character and the Mama Nature campaign was developed to portray an anti-litter message in a positive and humorous way.

The majority of the Complaints Board said there was nothing in the advertisements which drew any reference to the specific gender identity of Mama Nature and there was no comment on transgender people. The majority said a man dressed as a woman in order to portray a Mother Nature character did not reach the threshold to be considered to negatively stereotype transgender people or cause serious or widespread offence. A minority disagreed and said the advertisements were likely to cause serious offence and that community standards where shifting away from humorous depictions of people dressed as the opposite gender.  In accordance with the majority the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.