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School bullying scene not socially responsible, rules ad body

12 September 2019

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that a television commercial showing bullying behaviour was socially irresponsible.

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

A complainant was concerned the advertisement depicted bullying at school.

The advertiser responded saying 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.

The ASA says the majority of its complaints board felt the advertisement showed bullying behaviour and was not socially responsible.  Some, however, 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. The board ruled the complaint was upheld.

Poster imagery may have caused distress

In another decision, the Authority upheld, in part, a complaint about a poster that was reported to be disturbing to children.

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

A complainant was concerned the advertisement was disturbing to children.

The advertiser said the posters were removed on 23 June.

The ASA’s complaints board agreed that the content and placement of the advertisement was not socially responsible because it would cause fear or distress, without justification and ruled the complaint was upheld in part.

Last updated on the 12th September 2019