New Zealand Law Society - Posters to encourage young people to vote ruled okay

Posters to encourage young people to vote ruled okay

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint that claimed an election poster was “sexist and offensive.”

The Electoral Commission poster mimicked a ballot paper and showed two ‘voting’ options – Red Lip and Nude Lip with a bathroom in the background and a woman holding a cellphone, followed by the words ‘You vote every day, so vote this election’.

Election poster in women's bathroom

The complainant said the advertisement portrayed a patronising, sexist and offensive gender stereotype by trying to compare the decision-making of which lipstick colour to wear, with which political party to vote for. The complainant also said it was clearly targeted at women because it was seen in a women's hotel bathroom and the one in the men's bathroom was different.

The Commission responded saying the poster employed humour to encourage young people to vote by making it appear as simple as every day activities. The posters were targeted in locations more likely to be visited by younger people.

The ASA’s Complaints Board said the advertisement employed light-hearted humour to illustrate the ease of the voting process and did not reach the threshold to cause serious or widespread offence to most people. The Board said the ad encouraged people to vote in the upcoming election and there was no breach of the Code of Ethics or the Code for People in Advertising.

The ASA also threw out several other complaints over election advertising, all six of them relating to National Party flyers and Facebook posts.