New Decisions: Hyperbolic Scenarios, In-Store Displays and More

The following decisions have been published:

Complaint Prompts Advertisement Change

The in-store display stand for LOL Surprise dolls included a picture of a doll dressed in a leather jacket over a bikini style top and pants with fishnet stockings and boots.

The Complainant said the pictures shown on the display showed a cartoon image dressed and posed in a sexualised manner and was not age appropriate.

The Complaints Board Chair acknowledged that following direct contact from the Complainant prior to the ASA’s involvement, the Advertiser had replaced the images on the display stands with different doll characters.

Given the Advertiser’s co-operative engagement with the process and the self-regulatory action taken in changing the display stand, the Chair said that it would serve no further purpose to place the matter before the Complaints Board.  The Chair ruled the complaint was Settled.

Hyperbolic Scenario Didn’t Mislead Consumers

The VTNZ television advertisement showed a fictional character, Mr Road Commander, taking his ‘Mad Max’ style car into VTNZ to get a WoF (Warrant of Fitness). The VTNZ employee says in part… “Well your tread’s great, but this flame thrower is a little bit of a no no and the harpoon is not compliant either.” Mr Road Commander removes the vehicle accessories while the assessor says “We did put some new blades on.” Mr Road Commander appears excited until he realises she means wiper blades. The vehicle is given a pass and ends with the owner conveying this outcome to “Gary” who is chained up on the back of the vehicle.

Two Complainants were concerned a non-compliant vehicle was given a pass by the VTNZ Officer which could give customers a misleading impression about what could pass a WoF inspection. The Complainants were specifically concerned about a lack of mudguards and the front scoop on the vehicle.

The Advertiser clarified that ‘Mr Road Commander’ is a fictional, embellished character who required a vehicle certification and was never intended as a real-life example of how to pass a WoF. The Advertiser addressed the technical concerns raised by the Complainants with regard to the mudguard and front scoop by explaining the Low Volume Vehicle (LVV) Certificate process.

The Complaints Board agreed that given the fantastical nature of the advertisement, consumers were unlikely to be misled as to the level of compliance required for a vehicle to pass a WoF. It said the technical detail provided by the Advertiser was sufficient substantiation to show the advertisement was not misleading even when interpreted in the most literal sense. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.