An ad from Boating Camping Fishing (BCF) which features a man eating a bat sandwich is under investigation by Ad Standards.
In the brand’s summer campaign, created and launched by creative agency The Monkey’s in December 2020, a man jokes the pandemic was caused by someone eating a bat.
And, while early cases emerged from a live animal market in Wuhan, China, there has not been any proof it was how the virus started and spread.
Ad Standards executive director, Richard Bean, told CMO the advertising watchdog is currently looking into whether the ad breached any of the AANA Code of Ethics.
“Complainants were concerned about the ad making light of what is a very grave situation for many people in Australia and around the world,” Bean said.
“Concerns were also related to issues of blame on the basis of nationality, as well as the language used in the advertisement.”
While Bean acknowledged the Aussie “larrikin sense of humour”, he said the pandemic has had a “devastating affect” which needs to be taken into consideration.
“We acknowledge that Australians are known for their larrikin sense of humour. The panel often considers humour during its deliberations, however, the pandemic has had a devastating impact and it is vital the perspectives of affected members of the community are recognised in the complaint adjudication process,” he said.