The Ad Standards Board (ASB) has received several complaints about Suzuki Marine’s advert showing a family ‘grieving’ for their lost dad, who is shown having heaps of fun out on the boat.
The TVC shows a father “on the water for longer”, because of Suzuki Marine’s Lean Burn Control System, and is enjoying his time on his boat fishing and cruising around.
A selection of the complaints:
- “I object to this commercial for a few reasons. One, I believe it promotes or at least makes light of the serious situation families may be struggling with when one member of the family has abandoned them. Second, it would be highly distressing for children in this situation to see a commercial such as this and to think that his or her father or mother may be enjoying life much more without them around.”
- “I think women & children whose husbands/fathers “went fishing (or various other things) one day & never came home” would be very upset by this ad. They may have left to start another life, had an accident, or committed suicide. I’m sure there are people out there that get very distressed whenever this ad is aired.”
- “I initially laughed, but then thought about someone who was left in a similar situation (he left to go to the gym but committed suicide instead), & thought about what she would be feeling if/when she saw this ad. I’m not a “PC” person & like to have a good laugh, but think this ad could cause too much distress to too many people. Thanks for your consideration.”
- “The commercial is upsetting because it portrays people who are suffering from a loss of a loved one but then shows a scene of the father enjoying himself. For anyone who has lost a family member who just didn’t come home this would be insensitive.”
In response to the complaint, a Suzuki Marine representative argued: “Our TVC shows a father “on the water for longer”, thanks to our Lean Burn technology, and is enjoying his time on his boat fishing and cruising around. Before we see the father, the TVC shows his family in several sequences doing things around the house that dad would normally do or be part of – such as kicking a footy around with his son, eating dinner, etc. to show that his family is missing him while he’s gone out on his boat.
“We focused on a character, in the father, and wanted to highlight him enjoying his time on his boat while being safe on the water. Dad is shown with happy expressions and is generally enjoying his day out – total boating fulfillment thanks to Lean Burn.”
But don’t worry, don’t fear, this is just the first ad in a series which will focus on the family. “As the series continues, the family will be seen together, happy and safely enjoying their boating experience.
The Ad Standards Board ruled in favour of Suzuki Marine, saying “We see Mike steering the boat with one arm in the air and considered that part of his life vest appears to be visible and in the Board’s view there is no suggestion that Mike has not taken the appropriate safety measures which would include wearing a suitable life vest.”