YES, NO, MAYBE: Is the ASB being too petty?

YES, NO, MAYBE: Is the ASB being too petty?
SHARE
THIS



Chrysler and Kia are two brands to incur the wrath of the Advertising Standards Bureau recently – Chrysler for a TV commercial showing a car with its fog lights on, and Kia for a spot that showed a car ‘speeding’ through Melbourne CBD. Both ads were adjudged to show the cars being driven illegally, but is the ASB being petty in some of its decisions?

 Fiona Jolly, CEO, ASB – NO

The car industry has set itself a strict set of advertising guidelines – the FCAI Code. In line with this code, the Advertising Standards Board has little or no discretion in respect of any matters that breach Australian road laws.

The FCAI Code was developed with the purpose of ensuring that car advertisements don’t undermine road safety messages.

At the time it was developed, in 2004, car advertising’s main focus was on the speed and power of vehicles. It was references to speeding in the advertisements themselves that brought Government and community pressure on the car industry and forced a rethink of how the car industry advertised its product.

Since the introduction of the FCAI Code the number of ads which show cars speeding, racing or doing anything that breaks Australian road laws have decreased dramatically to almost zero.

The rules are very clear, the FCAI Code is worthwhile and the community and Government support its objective – to keep Australians safe… and surely there is nothing wrong with expecting advertisers to think of more creative ways to advertise vehicles.

 Sam Granleese, Strategy and insights manager, Carsales.com.au – YES

Both of these car advertisements are designed to push the boundaries and make their subjects appear as exciting and attractive as possible.

Thanks to uptight citizens, who no doubt provide the ASB with complaints in hand-written form, pushing the boundaries means going near 40km/h in Melbourne’s dead slow CBD, or having both fog lamps and headlights on whilst driving through a fog at 4am. How thrilling.

The KIA Optima accelerates quickly through an intersection in the KIA ad, but over 40 km/h? It is too hard to tell. There is no speedo showing 40.

The streets are empty, so you can’t compare it with passing traffic. So much to analyse from a one-second scene. So much triviality.

I understand that the Chrysler 300 is technically breaking road rules by having its fog lamps on at the same time as headlights. Again, in a very brief cutaway scene. Most people wouldn’t notice such minor details in a TVC unless it was paused and pointed out to them. I certainly didn’t.

 Steve Coll, Executive creative director, Havas Australia – YES

I watched James Bond Skyfall a month or so ago. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

It begins with an epic car chase where 007 smashes up an entire spice market and most of Istanbul’s commuter traffic. Awesome. Seriously, it’s almost as good as the one where Jason Bourne speeds the wrong way through the Parisian equivalent of the Harbour Tunnel at rush hour! Amazing stuff.

Equally amazing is looking at both of these alongside the decision to ban a Chrysler ad for having the fog lights on at the wrong time. Or an ad where a Kia might be driving slightly over the limit in a city street.

It’s hard to contemplate without the words ‘nanny state’ popping into your mind.

Personally, I don’t believe banning ads is an effective answer. Yes, the issues of road safety and problem gambling are significant. But if the strict rules we apply to car ads actually do address road safety, why do we have a complete absence of rules elsewhere?

Although, I will say there is one important upside to banning ads. Compared to all the other actions you could take on a problem, it’s definitely the cheapest.

 Jodie Sangster, CEO, ADMA – MAYBE

I would usually answer “no” to this question. The role played by the ASB and other self-regulatory

bodies is critically important in setting sensible industry standards and avoiding the need for government intervention – which usually results in a mixture of ill-conceived laws enforced by heavy fines.

The beauty of self-regulation is that it allows the industry to set appropriate standards for advertising and marketing – standards that make sense. However, to be effective and credible, it has to be enforced properly when the line is crossed – even if it’s only crossed ever-so-slightly.

In these cases the decisions seem petty as the infringements are so slight, but strictly adhering to the standards that the advertising industry itself has set is critically important to protect the industry’s future.

To allow a minor infringement to pass would affect the integrity of the self-regulatory scheme. Once credibility is lost it is a matter of time before the government steps in. Nobody wants that!

However, the reason I have said “maybe” is that recent decisions of the ASB go beyond the enforcement of industry standards.

By ruling that user comments posted on a company’s social media site form part of an “advertisement”, the ASB has opened the door to social media censorship.

If advertisers are now responsible for user comments, they will also need to make judgments on their truthfulness and accuracy, and take action to rectify as necessary. This puts in jeopardy the viability of social media as a marketing tool.

A petty decision, no. A dangerous path, maybe.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

LinkedIn Unveils Its Most Viewed Aussie Media & Marketing Profiles For 2018
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Technology

LinkedIn Unveils Its Most Viewed Aussie Media & Marketing Profiles For 2018

Trinity Consulting’s head of strategy, Anthony James (main photo), is the most followed Australian media personality on LinkedIn according to a new study by the business social media platform. Each year LinkedIn unveils its Power Profiles, the most-viewed professionals on LinkedIn across five categories in Australia. The categories include founders and CEOs; small to medium businesses (SMB); […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Silhouettes on cube boxes
  • Marketing
  • Partner Content

The Digital Specialist Versus The Marketing Generalist: Who Do CMOs Want More?

As technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, the pressure is firmly on marketers to ensure their digital skills are up to scratch. But with all the hype currently surrounding digital, do marketing bosses value those in their team with specialist skills more than the generalists? According to a recent survey of Australian and […]

Partner Content

by Hays

Waitrose Mocks John Lewis’ Elton John Ad For Its Own Christmas Campaign
  • Campaigns

Waitrose Mocks John Lewis’ Elton John Ad For Its Own Christmas Campaign

It’s arguably the planet’s most anticipated Christmas ad and UK retailer John Lewis didn’t disappoint when it delivered its big budget Elton John number to the world on Friday. Check out B&T’s reporting here. Such was the power of the spot, even our very own Dr Mark Ritson wrote a doting homage to the work […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Charity Group Debuts Confronting Ads For International Children’s Day
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Charity Group Debuts Confronting Ads For International Children’s Day

Today is International Children’s Day and to draw attention to the often appalling treatment of many of the world’s kids, charity group Right To Play has unveiled two stunning and provocative spots. The work of BBDO Toronto, the first is a 90-second TVC highlighting the mistreatment, forced marriage and child labour suffered by many children around the world. While a second deals […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Sydney Uni & JWT China Connect Human And Machine Learning With Creativity
  • Media
  • Technology

Sydney Uni & JWT China Connect Human And Machine Learning With Creativity

How will the future of work look for creative agencies?  How can technology be applied to the creative process – can it be automated? These are the key questions to be grappled with by University of Sydney academic experts and students in a new partnership with international advertising agency J. Walter Thompson China, in Shanghai. […]

Suncorp Appoints OMD As Master Media Agency
  • Advertising
  • Media

Suncorp Appoints OMD As Master Media Agency

OMD Australia has been appointed Suncorp’s Master Media Agency to manage the media planning and buying for the group’s network of brands including Suncorp, AAMI, GIO and Apia. The appointment of OMD comes after Suncorp confirmed it was reviewing its media account in October, putting incumbent Starcom on notice. It also coincides with the company’s move to a network […]

ABC Unveils Its Content Line-Up For 2019
  • Media

ABC Unveils Its Content Line-Up For 2019

The ABC has put recent management turmoil behind it to unveil its 2019 schedule. Highlights include the return of fan favourites Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery and Anh’s Brush with Fame. David Anderson, ABC acting managing director, said: “The ABC tells the story of Australia and in 2019 we have many great […]

Seven Ways To Apply Speech Analytics In Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Seven Ways To Apply Speech Analytics In Marketing

In this guest post, CEO of Delacon, Michael Center (pictured below), says speech analytics has a myriad of useful applications for any business and here he outlines seven applications to improve your marketing… Speech analytics data collected from calls made by potential new customers allows businesses to drive greater personalisation in the online environment and create […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Stockland Tells Aussies To ‘Give A Little Christmas’ Via CX Lavender
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Stockland Tells Aussies To ‘Give A Little Christmas’ Via CX Lavender

Stockland has unveiled its 2018 Christmas Campaign, launching across its national social and owned media channels. Titled ‘Give a Little Christmas’ the ad is by creative agency CX Lavender and celebrates the spontaneous, unplanned and unexpected moments that make Christmas special and can bring a community closer. Ben Allen, general manager marketing at Stockland, said: “At Stockland, we believe […]

Harper’s BAZAAR Devotes December Issue To Conservation
  • Media

Harper’s BAZAAR Devotes December Issue To Conservation

The December issue of Harper’s BAZAAR, on sale today, celebrates a unique collaboration between the luxury lifestyle title and Australia’s iconic Taronga Zoo. Fronted by Australian supermodel and mother of two, Gemma Ward, the December issue is devoted to raising awareness to the work Taronga Zoo, and the newly established Taronga Institute of Science and […]

The $400,000 Problem Of Storing Media Assets
  • Media
  • Opinion

The $400,000 Problem Of Storing Media Assets

In this guest post, Collaboro CEO Warwick Boulter (pictured below), says too many marketers aren’t taking care of their very expensive media assets and offers his tips to ensure you safeguard yours… A business’ digital media assets form a significant part of its overall asset portfolio. Maximising the use of these assets and protecting them against loss is […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine