New Decisions: Chocolate Biscuits, Programme Ads and More

The following decisions have been published:

Radio ad OK for younger audience
A radio and Spotify advertisement featured a promotion for the television programme The Handmaid’s Tale – an adaptation of the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood. A woman’s voice is heard saying “Wear the red dress… wear the wings… shut your mouth… be a good girl… roll over… Yes Ma’am… may the lord open… seriously… what the actual …”

The Complainant said it was inappropriate for children to be exposed to the adult themes of the advertisement, given that it was heard on the radio on the way to school and on a Spotify account.

The Advertiser said although the advertisement’s target audience was women aged 25-54, the script was designed so that a younger audience might also hear it without understanding the sub context.

The Complaints Board said more effort could have been taken in the placement of the advertisement on radio to avoid younger audiences hearing it. However, it agreed the edited content of the audio advertisement meant children were unlikely to understand its adult themes and it did not reach the threshold to offend. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

Biscuit ad ruled not offensive
The television advertisement for Griffin’s Toffee Pop biscuits showed four animated biscuits on a plate. Three were covered with milk chocolate and one was coated in white chocolate. One of the milk chocolate biscuits said “Everyone, I’d like you to meet a new member of the team. Welcome on board!” The female milk chocolate biscuit said: “That’s an interesting coat!” The white chocolate biscuit responded: “Thanks I’m covered in luxurious caramelised white chocolate. She is asked: “Yeah but are you delicious?” Former All Black, Carlos Spencer takes a bite out of the white chocolate biscuit and says Mmmm, that’s delicious!” The female milk chocolate biscuit concluded the advertisement saying: “Ah yeah, fair enough.”

The Complainant said the conversation between the biscuits was offensive and had racist overtones. They were also concerned this ad was inappropriate because the animated presentation would appeal to children.

The Advertiser said the advertisement was a ‘tongue in cheek’ campaign which used humour to promote the new biscuit. The actor chose to consume the white chocolate biscuit, however there were no racial undertones or any offensive depictions of race. The Advertiser said the advertisement was not run during children’s programming.

The majority of the Complaints Board agreed the advertisement was humorous and the likely message would be the new biscuit was just as good as the original flavour. The Complaints Board ruled the advertisement had not targeted children and it did not meet the threshold to cause serious or widespread offence. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.