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Ad’s satirical content deemed not offensive

07 June 2017

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a commercial for fencing was not sexist.

A radio advertisement for Ben Holden Fencing featured the eponymous owner reading the following script “Your wife jumping the fence, boys? Fence her in today – phone me, Ben Holden, fencing service with integrity. Ben Holden – Keeping marriages together since 1969. I’ve got you covered lads.”

The complainant said the advertisement was offensive to women and that the narrator was putting down women.

The advertiser, however, said the wording is clearly satirical and tongue-in-cheek, and was not intended to be taken literally. They claimed the majority of the Newstalk ZB audience would understand this humorous intent.

The ASA ruled that despite employing out-dated stereotypes, the well-worn cliché did not reach the threshold to cause serious or widespread offence. The Complaints Board noted that the Code for People in Advertising allowed for a level of humour and satire within advertising, and this advertisement’s satirical content would be recognised by the intended audience for what it was.

Rewards programme detail clarified

A decision on an energy company promotion was not upheld.

Contact Energy used email, website and flyer advertisements to promote AA SmartFuel rewards as part of its range of energy plans. Some of these advertisements included promotion of a deal giving 30c off per litre of fuel every month, on a one-year fuel rewards plan. The advertising said there are “No tricks, no waiting, no surprises.” Two complaints were received about this advertising.

The first complaint said the email advertisement was misleading as it did not state that there was a 50 litre a month maximum on the offer. The advertiser amended the ad to include “(up to 50 litres)” as part of the offer for future advertising. The majority of the Complaints Board agreed, that given the amendment the Advertiser had made, the complaint was settled.

The second complaint said the advertisement was misleading because it only talked about fuel savings and did not mention that current Contact Energy clients could be worse off as a result of this deal.

The advertiser said it provided all the tools necessary to be able to analyse whether this offer was a favourable deal for their specific circumstances.

The Complaints Board agreed information had been provided to enable consumers to make an informed decision and the advertisement was not misleading. The Complaints Board this complaint was not upheld.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019