Complaints against a graphic M-rated advert for Workplace Victoria showing a farmer breaking his neck in a quad bike accident have been dismissed by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB).
The voice-over states ‘Quad bikes are Australia’s biggest cause of farm deaths. And over half of those deaths are due to quad bikes rolling over, crushing or asphyxiating the rider.’ The words ‘Quad bikes can take your breath away’ appear on a black screen.
A sample of the complaints made regarding this advertisement included the following:
- No person should have to witness death on a daily basis. The images are very confronting especially for those that have loved ones on farms. The sounds are horrific and cause a great deal of personal distress to me.
- It is appalling that this shock campaign continues to show death when we already have so many horrible things on the news.
- As a long term sufferer of clinical depression being constantly remind of death makes me think of nothing else. There are many better ways to convey safety messages, such as actually showing safe behaviour.
In response Workplace Victoria said “Quad bikes are the leading cause of death on Australian farms. Quad bikes are an vital piece of equipment that allow farmers to perform daily routine tasks. However, quad bikes are not all-terrain vehicles and can roll over in any direction (front, side or rear).
“This can happen suddenly, even at low speeds, putting the operator at risk of injury or death from being thrown from, trapped or crushed by the bike. Many farmers work alone and are not able to call for help in the instance they do have accident– adding the danger of using these vehicles.”
The campaign was designed to make farmers want to find out more about the Victorian State Government rebate. The government is offering a rebate of either $600 each for up to two quad bikes to fit rollover or $1200 towards the cost of buying a more appropriate work vehicle.
Research by Workplace Victoria found “any communication to this audience to reach this group needed to be graphic, factual and highly impactful in nature to result in any meaningful cut through.”
The ASB agreed that even though the “sound of the farmer’s bone breaking and his struggling to breathe may be confronting and alarming to viewers, the important community message being delivered meant that this level of violence was justifiable”. They also highlighted that the ad has been rated “M” by CAD and was not shown in media targeted at children.