New Decisions: School bullying scene, scary posters and more

The following decisions have been published:

School Bullying Scene Not Socially Responsible

The television advertisement for Wrigleys EXTRA peppermint chewing gum showed a school student with glasses being pushed up against the wall by another student and asked for his lunch money.  The student with glasses takes out a packet of EXTRA and chews a piece.  He compliments a female student on her hair and tells the bully she has had highlights.  The advertisement ends with the tagline “Time to Shine.”

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement is depicting bullying which is a serious issue in New Zealand.

The Advertiser said the intended message was having fresh breath promotes confidence.  They stated the advertisement is shot in a theatrical/comical way and the hero of the story is the confident boy who does not appear intimidated by the boy asking for money. They said the advertisement did not play during children’s programmes.

The majority of the Complaints Board said that the advertisement showed bullying behaviour and was not socially responsible.  A minority of the Complaints Board disagreed and said the student being asked for money maintained his confidence throughout the encounter and the scenario in the advertisement was more likely to be seen as a parody of bullying. In accordance with the majority, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Upheld.

Poster Imagery May Have Caused Distress

The poster advertisement by Roadshow NZ for the horror movie “Child’s Play” showed a picture of a doll with one red eye. The doll is holding a knife and the blade of the knife is glistening. The text says: “Time to Play”.  The posters were large and displayed in a range of public locations, including a shopping area.

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement was disturbing to children.

The Advertiser said they attempted to minimise the visibility of the knife by the placing of large amounts of text. They also tried to avoid “kid specific” areas for the posters, such as schools and childcare centres.  The Advertiser said the posters were removed on 23 June 2019.

The Complaints Board agreed that the content and placement of the advertisement was not socially responsible because it would cause fear or distress, without justification. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Upheld in part.