Babies on conveyor belt not offensive, alcohol billboards, and more

The following decisions have been released to the ASA website:

Babies on conveyor belt confronting but not offensive

The Spend My Super television advertisement shows babies moving along a conveyor belt in a factory setting.  Every fourth baby is pushed off the main line by a mechanical arm with a red sensor light and disappears.  The voice-over says “One in four Kiwi children grow up in poverty.  They don’t choose what they’re born into.  Give some or all of your superannuation to give every child a real chance.”

Twelve Complainants were concerned the advertisement showed disturbing images and used shock tactics which were offensive and exploitative.  Some Complainants were concerned the advertisement should not be targeting superannuants who could be a vulnerable audience.

Contagion, the Advertising Agency, replied on behalf of the Advertiser and said the aim of the advertisement was to draw attention to the statistic of one in four Kiwi children being born in poverty.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaints were Not Upheld. The Board said the statistic presented in the advertisement was not disputed, and although seeing it illustrated through the factory production line metaphor was confronting, it was not offensive. The Board acknowledged the information provided by the Advertiser on the use of green screen technology in the production of the advertisement, agreeing it demonstrated that no children were exploited or degraded while filming the images.  The Board said given the target audience of people over 60 in higher socio-economic groups, more care could have been taken with placement but this did not meet the threshold to breach the Code.

Alcohol ad breached Code by proximity to school

The Hancocks Wine Spirits & Beer Merchants billboard advertisement for Jack Daniel’s whiskey shows the Jack Daniel’s bottle label and the text “The Whiskey that gave whiskey a reputation.”

The complainant was concerned about the placement of the billboard in very close proximity to an intermediate school.

The Complaints Board ruled this complaint was Upheld. While it agreed the content of the advertisement did not target children, the placement meant it had not met the high standard of social responsibility required of alcohol advertising. The Complaints Board said the media had acknowledged an error was made in placing an alcohol advertisement near a school.  The Board noted JCDecaux’s cooperative engagement with the process and the self-regulatory action in removing the advertisement, and the assurance the site would not be used for alcohol advertisements or material unsuitable for those under the age of 18.