Nova 100 has had a TV spot promoting its Ben, Liam & Belle show banned for its unjustifiable depiction of presenters being shocked with an electric dog collar.
The 30-second spot was shown on SBS on demand, YouTube, Vevo and in Hoyts Cinemas and showed the three presenters arguing over the correct nomenclature for a chicken parmigiana — a parmy or a parma (for what it’s worth, it’s a parmy here at B&T).
Melburnian Belle maintained that it is a Parma while Ben and Liam, who relocated from Adelaide, call it a parmy. Attempting to convince them it is a parma, Belle puts electric shock collars on Ben and Liam, zapping them every time they say “parmy.”
One viewer complained to Ad Standards, saying the ad was “very disturbing” and even that it “goes against the Australian human rights commission.”
Nova maintained that the violence depicted in the ad was intended to “poke fun” at the naming differences and that the collars were (thankfully) not real. It also said that the “correctional” shocks Ben and Liam received were “light-hearted, humorous, and unrealistic, and not intended to convey any suggestion of, or condone, actual violence or pain.”
It also added that the use of electric dog training collars is legal in Victoria and that a number of other adverts from the likes of Westpac, Suntory and Grill’d also depicted humorous and unrealistic violence and had not been spiked.
Ad Standards’ Community Panel, however, disagreed and said that while it was clear that the violence depicted in the ads was intended to be comedic, any violence in an ad needed to be justifiable and, in this case, it believed Nova could not justify it.
The ad has been discontinued.