I hope you don’t see an ad more offensive than this today

The always-brilliant website Sociological Images found this appalling ad for an Australian “luxury” real estate development. My first response after “This has got to be a hoax,” was how unsafe these places are when you have a resident scared out of her wits tied to a chair and calling the cops. This doesn’t make me want to live there, it makes me want to live anywhere BUT there.

Nothing says great living quite like the threat of rape.

Round-up of the week’s odd marketing stories

  • Anti-Religion ad banned: Last month the South African Advertising Standards Authority banned an ad from a church for claiming miracles, this month UK’s ASA banned posters from the British Humanist Association asking people to check the “No Religion” box on census forms. The reason? They had the “potential to cause widespread and serious offence.”
  • 575-pound spokesman for Heart Attack Grill dies: ‘Heart Attack Grill is an unabashedly unhealthy restaurant – the menu consists of huge burgers, milkshakes and fries cooked in lard – and having such a big man as a spokesman was part of its tongue in cheek “glorification of obesity.”’
  • LA Clippers celebrate Black History month after Black History month ends: Not surprising really. As AdFreak points out “given [team owner Donald] Sterling’s standing as a poster boy for racial intolerance and bigotry, I’m amazed he missed it by only two days. By all accounts, this meathead is about as racially progressive as Archie Bunker. This is a guy who paid $2.73 million in 2009 to settle a federal lawsuit that claimed he discriminated against blacks and Hispanics when renting apartments in L.A.”
  • Del Monte unveils individually plastic wrapped …bananas. In case that wasn’t silly enough, the company claims the biodegradable wrappers are part of a “green initiative.”
  • Aussie schools sell booze for fundraising:  “The Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) has written to every school principal in the country asking them to reconsider the sale, use and promotion of alcohol products when raising money. In the open letter, chairman Dr John Herron said there were concerns students were being used as "couriers" between school and home for advertising material, forms and payments for alcohol as part of fundraising activities.”
  • Calvin Klein ads banned for using gang-rape images to sell clothes

    stop_violence_against_womenDown in Aussie land the Advertising Standards Authority has banned a Calvin Klein ad campaign  because it was “suggestive of violence and rape.” And by “suggestive” they mean “depicts in a faux artsy way.” I’m not going to post the picture because the ASA is spot on about this. The not-usually shy Daily Mail describes it as featuring a model “posing with three male models in the controversial image. Her head is rested on the lap of one, while she is straddled by another.” Perhaps they were feeling demure because they did run the picture. Who knows?

    An ASA spokesman said, “The Board considered that whilst the act depicted could be consensual, the overall impact and most likely impression is that the scene is suggestive of violence and rape.The Board considered that the image was demeaning to women by suggesting that she is a plaything of these men.”

    I, for one, would like to see the ASA banning ALL ads that suggest women are a plaything for men. Of course, that would destroy the advertising business – so it’s a win/win!

    Aussies hopping mad about kangaroo-flavored chips

    The Aussies are not, by and large, nervous nellies. They can’t really afford to be. That’s what living with the all those wild fires, droughts, rampant New Zealanders and 10 of the most lethal animals on the planet will do for you. However, if you really need to make an Ozlander squirm sell a potato chip flavored like a kangaroo or emu.

    Complaints to Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau said the “BBQ Coat of Arms” chips were degrading for native wildlife and sent the wrong message to Australian children, reported the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. “It implies that it is perfectly OK to kill kangaroos and emus just for fun!” said one complaint.

    Apparently the writer has never read the history of Australia. Pointlessly killing kangaroos is to the land Down Under what pointlessly killing buffalo is to the US.

    BTW, I have eaten oddly flavored potato chips in France, the UK and Japan and no matter what they claim to be seasoned with they taste like either BBQ or salt & vinegar. That’s it. Worcestershire sauce flavored? BBQ. And not a very good one. Curry? Salt and vinegar.

    *Thanks to Erik B. for the headline!

    Krispy Kreme forced to eat half-baked marketing scheme

    Last week, the kreme hit the fan when

    Do-Vo and Vo-Vo An Australian biscuit company has threatened legal action against US chain Krispy Kreme if does not stop selling its Iced Dough-Vo doughnut. Arnott believes the product is almost identical to its own Iced Vo-Vo biscuit, and breaches trademarks registered in 1906.

    Krispy claimed the confection was meant as a tribute to the beloved Vo Vo.

    This resulted in some of the best headlines I have ever read:

    What about: Krisp Kreme donut turns to humble pie


    As you can tell the Aussies take their Iced Vo Vo’s very seriously: In his November 2007 victory speech, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd jokingly urging his campaign team to have a strong cup of tea with an Iced Vo Vo before getting to work.This reportedly led to skyrocketing Iced VoVo sales, prompting Arnott’s to send a shipping pallet of the biscuits to the Prime Minister’s office in Canberra’s New Parliament House.

    Viagra — it’s not just for mammals anymore

    oysterViagra truly is a wonder drug — and not just for humans. First it rescued us from the horror of jet-lagged hamsters. Now comes word that it does wonders for bivalves … or at least their marketing. Some Aussie is feeding the stuff to oysters and claims that the result is a super-aphrodisiac.

    “First of all, oysters are the greatest natural aphrodisiac, second, you lace it with Viagra, and third, it’s a laugh,” said George May.

    Until he came down with prostrate cancer Mr. May was — no surprise — a marketing exec. You can tell he’s an Aussie marketing exec because he was honest enough to say, “it’s a laugh.” He faces only two problems with his new product: 1) He can’t sell his oysters in Australia because they contravene strict regulations; and 2) Pfizer won’t let him use the V word in his marketing.

    May now has some 10 million oysters in cultivation and says he eats one to two dozen each day without any ill effects of consuming a foodstuff containing some medication.

    But what kind of pearls do you get from them?

    When Vegemite is outlawed, only outlaws will have vegemite … Thank God

    The government has finally done something to protect us all from all from a weapon of mass yuckification and banned imports of the inedible Australian “food stuff.” If this is a Bush Administration’s ploy to increase its popularity right before the election then all I can say is, “mission accomplished.”

    Demon duck of doom

    Quote of the day: “Very big birds … more like ducks, earned the name ‘demon duck of doom’, some at least may have been carnivorous as well.” — Vertebrate paleontologist Sue Hand describing one of 20 fossils of previously unknown species uncovered at a site in northwest Queensland in Australia.

    And yes, I do want to copywrite that.

    Sparklers, snakes & salutes*

    *Salutes was what we in RI called the basic small firecracker that you would light up and it would go bang without damaging your hand if you were dumb enough to have it explode on you (refuses to disclose how he knows this but OWWW). What are these called elsewhere in the US?

    Quick hits

    You wouldn't want it in your eyes but it's good for your nose? Capsaicin, the incredibly active ingredient that makes both pepper spray and great chili disabling, is being touted as the next great thing for … allergies. Yup, one spritz of Sinus Buster Pepper Nasal Spray "Equalizes Springtime Allergies." In an incredibly artfully worded press release, SiCap industries almost alleges their product …

    … is spelling true relief for millions of allergy sufferers.

    … may prove to be the answer to every allergy sufferer’s prayers.

    … has built an impeccable reputation with thousands of physicians around the world.

    … [has] an excellent reputation for relieving chronic sinus conditions and headaches.

    … grabbed the attention of some major medical researchers due to the
    overwhelming body of anecdotal evidence both from patients and

    … is presently involved in several new
    clinical trials concerning various sinus and headache treatments.

    … wakes you up faster than a strong cup of morning java.

    It's probably an excellent floor wax and dessert topping, too.

    Next must see movie of the year: "Farce of the Penguins" — the story of "one penguin's search for love while on a 70-mile (112-km) trek with his libidinous buddies on their way to a hedonistic mating ritual." Written by the incredibly filthy mouthed/minded Bob Saget — if that strikes you as a strange description of him then you haven't seen The Aristocats.

    The juggernaut of free PR for Aussie tourism continues: "And here I am, in the Australian parliament building at what I think is something like four o'clock in the morning in the UK. And so I'm thinking, so where the bloody hell am I?" — Brit PM Tony Blair (motto: What am I Still In Office?).

    But apparently there is too much of a good thing for the Aussies. Ad-rag has an entry quoting from a story in the Sydney Morning Herald about what it takes for the Aussies to give someone else free press: A comedy writer has been forced to take down an online spoof of the controversial "where the bloody hell are you" TV ad after legal threats. Dan
    Ilic, 24, produced a parody of the ad, changing the jingle to "Where
    the f—ing hell are you?" and inserting negative images of Australian life.

    Who knew I looked this good? Last year I was a movie and now I'm a band. And much more attractive than Keanu Reeves.band

    FWIW: I got one of their songs, Young Lions, from iTunes. It's pretty damn good. Not enough steel guitar for my taste — but you can never have enough steel guitar for my taste.

    Not only can you not get drunk in a bar in Texas, but in Canada you can’t even be seen to have a beer. IN CANADA!

    The Aussies continue to have good luck getting free PR. Turns out the Canuck ad authorities not only wouldn’t let them use the word hell in the ad, they had “to remove a shot showing a half-full glass of beer.” Oh, Canada…

    Aussie tourism boss Fran Bailey continues laughing all the way to the bank on this one. “I still find the decision astonishing. What this decision shows is that Canada lags behind Americans, Brits and even Germans in the sense of humour stakes.” OOOOH, that hurts — less funny than the GERMANS? Canada has taken this insult seriously and announced they are sending all of their armed forces not currently serving at the Tim Horton’s in Afghanistan to invade Australia. Adding economic clout to this military threat, the Canadians say both of those people will fly on an airline that is not Qantas.

    Aussie ad campaign continues on a roll

    Man, those folks from Down Under sure know how to get the most for their ad dollar. Having previous reaped a whirlwind of free press from getting the “So where the bloody hell are you?” ad banned in the UK, they’re now doing it again — this time in Canada. The Canucks have banned the ad from TV and say there’s no point in the Aussie Tourism Minister coming to the Great White North to appeal the case as she did in the UK because they’re not going to change their minds. Well, I bet Ms. Bailey still makes the trip as the point of her trip won’t be to change the decision but to get publicity and I bet it will again work like a charm. Hmmmm, what mildly racey word can they put in the US version?

    BREAKING NEWS!!! Turns out they didn’t have to ad anything to get free publicity in the US. Adjab points out that  the ever looney American Family Association (motto: We Make PETA Look Rational) has gone on the offensive and found something offensive. According to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald:

    AFA members are expected to bombard Tourism Australia with thousands of emails and phone calls in coming weeks to vent their feelings. Members are also expected to boycott Australia as a holiday destination. “I just feel pretty sure the typical American family who is watching TV with their children and they’re exposed to this ad are going to be upset,” AFA director of special projects, Randy Sharp, said. “I don’t want my children to hear that phrase. It’s a shocking phrase because we’re not familiar with it. I guess they use it all the time in Australia, but it’s a foreign language here so I think it’ll have a negative impact rather than positive.”

    Nervous Aussie tourism officials said losses from the AFA’s decision could mount into the high single digits. They were actually more worried as to what would happen after the boycott ended. “Wasn’t ’til they stopped the ‘cott of Ford that Ford really started to lose money,” said one Australian stereotype.

    Don’t Randy Sharp’s quotes sound so dumb as to be made up? Sadly, it’s in keeping with everything else I’ve read about him. Can we nominate the AFA for some sort of award for “PR Person’s Best Friend”?

    Bloody good decision

    One more word you can’t say on television

    … in the UK, at least, is bloody. As has been widely noted elsewhere, the Australian tourism authorities recently unveiled a new ad campaign withthe “Where the bloody hell are you?” The slogan, which has widely been referred to as “cheeky” in the UK/Aussie/Kiwi press, has been banned from the airwaves in the UK. Officials at the British Advertising Clearance Centre have decided that it is just to damn, bloody much to hear the phrase on the air even though it “has been emblazoned across full-page advertisements in the British press with full approval of the regulators.” Australian Minister for Tourism Fran Bailey is flying to London to “confront” the BACC over the decision– we use the word confront here in its traditional sense: to grab as many free headlines as possible. For those of you like me who haven’t actually seen the ads, a description:

    The television campaign features natural Australian icons such as beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, the outback, Sydney Harbour and Uluru. The ads end with a girl in a bikini saying “we’ve saved you a spot on the beach”, before she poses the colourful question, “Where the bloody hell are you?”

    The only possible answer: In my bloody cubicle.