New Decisions: Scary Posters, Social Responsibility & More

The following decisions have been published:

Poster Deemed Too Confronting for Children
A poster advertising campaign for the television programme, Wellington Paranormal, consisted of three images including a demonic looking possessed girl posing in a police mugshot style photo, with the wording ‘Wanted for Possession.’ The programme’s scheduling details featured on an identification board at the bottom of the 920mm by 1320mm poster.

The Complainant said the poster of the possessed girl was very frightening to children and the Advertiser needed to be mindful of the wide audience for a street poster.

The Advertiser said the poster accurately portrayed the programme as one that is comedic and satirical. The Advertiser acknowledged that the image could be confronting for children and advised their media providers to remove any outstanding billstickers immediately.

The Complaints Board said the unrestricted poster medium meant it was likely the image of the possessed girl would be confronting to children who did not understand the humourous context. The Complaints Board agreed that the advertisement had breached the Code of Ethics. As the advertising campaign had concluded and the Advertiser had already removed the posters, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Settled.

Alcohol Ad on Facebook Breached Social Responsibility
The Super Liquor sponsored advertisement on Facebook said “Need a pick-me-up? Layer up, stick the fire on and make the most of these super deals on your favourite brews!” Various bottles of spirits are shown in the advertisement.

The Complainant said that alcohol should not be advertised as a pick me up and the advertisement did not observe a high standard of social responsibility.

The Advertiser accepted the wording was incorrect and inappropriate and said they advised their Creative agency to include a further process to check wording to ensure social responsibility.

The Chair acknowledged the Advertiser’s explanation that the tagline in question was the result of the contraction of a longer message by the creative agency due a restricted word count on the Facebook platform. She accepted this was an error in process, rather than any intent on the part of the Advertiser to promote an irresponsible message around the consumption of alcohol. Given the Advertiser’s self-regulatory action, the Chair ruled the complaint was settled and the advertisement was removed.