Complaints Against NAB’s Billboard Of Toddler Having A Bath Dismissed

Complaints Against NAB’s Billboard Of Toddler Having A Bath Dismissed

Complaints against the recent NAB More than Money campaign, by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, have been dismissed by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB). People complained the image of a toddler having a bubble bath was sexual.

ERIN MARY Doyle
Posted by ERIN MARY Doyle

The advert ran across TV, online, out-of-home, digital, social media and in-branch. It was the NAB’s first whole-brand refresh in six years. The first More than Money campaign centred on emotional drivers of people against rational facts about money.

This billboard, placed inside NAB branches, depicts a toddler having a bath. The image shows only the toddler’s face and neckline and lots of bubbles. The NAB logo is in the top right corner along with the text, “more than money” and underneath the toddler’s head it reads, “This is a home loan.”

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A sample of comments which the complainants made include:

  • I don’t know what they are even trying to say/promote but in this day and age with the inappropriate sexualisation of young girls and widespread concern about paedophilia, I think this add is completely inappropriate and should be removed from all locations.
  • The bank is advertising loans. Nothing is gained by having a picture of a small child sitting, naked, in a bath – it is irrelevant and unnecessary. I think it is inappropriate – the child could have been photographed doing any activity, fully clothed. That child is someone’s daughter and her picture is on posters inside the bank and is being plastered across the internet – any person could easily obtain a copy of it.

In response to the complaints, a NAB representative told the ASB: “We are sorry to hear that a recent NAB advertisement has caused concern for a member of the community. It is never our intention to cause any discomfort or distress with any of our advertisements.

“In addition to engaging with Clemenger BBDO to ensure the advertisement complied with advertising standards, numerous representatives from NAB (including legal and risk team members) considered the advertisement before proceeding and publishing. We worked closely with our agency to ensure the child was represented in a dignified and respectful manner.

“We do not believe that the image represents a sexualisation of the child. It is a picture of a toddler sitting in a bath full of bubbles, reminding us of one of the joys of parenthood – and connecting with a parent’s understanding that life is very much about more than money.”

The ASB agreed with NAB, noting that “while the facial expression of the child is very solemn, the manner in which the child is depicted is not sexualised, she is covered in bubbles and is in a bubble bath, and the level of nudity is not explicit or inappropriate.

“Overall the Board considered that the complainant’s interpretation of the advertisement is an interpretation unlikely to be shared by the broader community.”