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Swear word lands campervan company in trouble. Again

18 April 2017

The Australian campervan company Wicked Campers has once again fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority, this time for its use of a highly offensive, four-lettered word.

One of the company’s campervans sported a window sticker which read: ‘Attention Thieves. Thou Shalt Not Steal. God Is Watching You Thieving C***’, and on the side, the slogan: ‘Let’s Throw a Cat on The Barbie’.

The complainant who saw the van parked up in Te Anau said the window sticker was offensive to Christians and women, and the other message gave the impression that animal cruelty was acceptable or amusing.

“Are such crude and offensive messages really acceptable in NZ?” the complainant wrote.

The ASA says, as with previous complaints, Wicked Campers has failed to respond.

Its complaints board said the slogans were likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and has upheld the complaint.  

Earlier this year the Authority upheld a complaint that a mis-spelt slogan on a Wicked Camper van “trivialised” the rape of young boys.

And, among a number of other coomplaints, it also upheld a complaint about the words on a van, “This Machine Kills Fascists”, which was considered by the complainant to have crossed the line of “terrorism”.

Meanwhile, the ASA has not upheld a complaint about implied sexual activity in a TV commercial.

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s animated ad shows Dick the Dog and his owner out for a walk. The dog sees lips on a car’s exhaust pipe and the camera moves to show the owner’s blushing face. There is implied sex, off-screen, and the dog is kept safe by wearing a condom. 

The complainant said the advertisement was ‘sick’, could encourage children to be cruel to animals, and was inappropriate for screening at any time.

MTV said the ad dealt with serious social issues of safe sex and HIV prevention in a humorous way.

The ASA says the safe sex message was important. It says treating a challenging topic in a light-hearted way could help engage a youth audience that is sometimes challenging to reach.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019