Self-Regulatory Documents

2016 advertising crackers

Mon, 06 Mar 2017

As 2017 begins, we take a moment to appreciate some of the crackers from 2016 that made us laugh (or roll our eyes) in the wonderful world of sales and marketing.

Get lost

The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (NZASA) was left lost for words after it received a complaint about a little girl telling her dad to "get lost".

Hyundai's ad featured a father and daughter scene where the young girl looks up at her father and quietly says "Let's get lost Dad".  The complainant lost…his cool, objecting to a "hyperactive little girl" that he is forced to listen to if he doesn’t want to miss the news.

While the NZASA noted the complainant's unfounded frustration, there was nothing about the content of the ad that breached the Advertising Codes.

A penguin stole my bike

An ad for Tower Insurance featured children being asked "what would you do if a penguin stole your bike" followed by a scene of a person (in a penguin costume) running across a driveway stealing a child's bike.

The complainant had the sense of humour of an iceberg, saying that the underlying message of the ad was that "it's ok to steal a bike if you're dressed like a penguin".

Well waddle-ya-know, the NZASA disagreed as it was satisfied that the ad was unlikely to persuade viewers that stealing a bike was acceptable, even when dressed as a penguin.

 Not very fun-knee

An ad for the Warehouse featured people dancing and jumping around a store looking at things to buy.  One scene showed a man leaving the Warehouse and going into the carpark sliding on his knees.

The complainant thought that sliding around on your knees in a carpark was "dangerous and stupid".  "What is next, sliding around on roads?", he said.  The NZASA's quick dismissal of the complainant clearly showed  the complaint was like an oil stain in a carpark….it wasn’t going anywhere.

Boomerangs, lamb and vegetables

Meanwhile in Australia, one of the most complained about ads in 2016 involved a newsreader promoting the consumption of lamb on Australia Day and giving the instruction to commence "Operation Boomerang": the recovery of Australians from various countries so that they are be able to eat lamb on Australia Day.

The ad featured a number of shots of a SWAT team rescuing a man from an office in Japan, a dentist from the US and a rugby player from England.

This ad attracted a number of complaints, with one complainant stating that the ad encouraged other meat eaters to act violently towards vegans because of scenes showing military-style personnel torching a bowl of kale and tofu.  Other complainants didn’t like the insinuation that those who didn’t eat meat weren’t real Australians.

The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau dismissed all complaints, describing the ad as clearly hyperbolic and sarcastic.  If the complainants missed the humour of Operation Boomerang, we're sure it will come back to them eventually.

Happy 2017!

We hope you enjoyed this selection of sales and marketing crackers.  Get in touch with us if you have any sales and marketing law queries, and have a great 2017.


Thanks to Nicola Ashby from Simpson Grierson for this article - [email protected]