Complaints against an advert promoting Auskick called ‘NAB Mini Legends’ depicting kids pretending to be popular adult AFL players- including Max Gawn (Melbourne Football Club), Buddy Franklin (Sydney Swans) and Josh Kennedy (West Coast Eagles) has been dismissed by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB).
The complaint was concerned that some of the kids were covered in tattoos. The complaint wrote: “I objected to the depiction of young primary school aged children wearing extensive tattooing. It certainly sends the wrong cultural and legal message, i.e. that extensive tattoos are OK at a primary school age, including on indigenous children, regardless of whether the AFL and the National Bank wish to be associated with promoting the tattooing of children.”
“Tattooing is illegal in all states of Australia and the ACT at this age for children of this age, so it is inappropriate for the AFL and NAB to be promoting it, particularly to viewers of AFL, many of whom are vulnerable and from this age group.
“Because it is illegal, the depiction of children wearing extensive tattoos is in the same category as depicting children drinking alcohol, or performing other adult acts sometimes associated with AFL players, such as misbehaviour at nightclubs and inappropriate behaviour towards women. The latter would not make it into a TV advertisement, so why would tattooing?
“My own children (both sexes) have participated in Auskick in recent years and it is a good program. The message sent in the most recent advertisement is not.”
In response to the complaint, an NAB representative said they were sorry to hear the ad caused distress. “We selected respected footballers who had easily recognisable features and attributes, or distinguishable moves or actions. By dressing the children as AFL heroes and replicating key moves, the advertisement transports the viewer into the make-believe world of childhood. This make-believe world is further enhanced by having girls (in some instances) playing the part of the male AFL footballers.
“For the make believe tattoos, every precaution was taken to consider the health and safety of the children. Skin tests were conducted to ensure no reaction could be caused by the make-up. Makeup tattoos were painted onto the children by a qualified make-up artist – these were then removed as soon as the children finished shooting.
“We do not believe this advertisement can or should be viewed in a literal way as encouraging unlawful behaviour in relation to children – including getting permanent tattoos. Rather our view is that the public see it as we intended – a playful and fun celebration of Auskick football and the role it plays in inspiring Australians with their love of sport.”
The ASB said it was extremely unlikely that children will get a tattoo because of the ad. “The Board noted that children often play with fake or temporary tattoos and considered that this advertisement would be unlikely to encourage children to get a real tattoo.”
The complaint was dismissed.