Face punch ad banned for portraying violence; too soon after ‘king hit’ tragedy, rules watchdog

An outdoor ad for a Sydney graphic design agency has been banned for using an excessively violent image.

The ad for RJ Graphics, which features a man being punched in the face and the line ‘Design for impact!’, appeared on the back of Sydney buses, with one Sydneysider complaining that the ad was badly timed so soon after a resident had been killed by a rogue blow to the head.

“It is graphic and violent. A man was killed by a punch in Kings Cross just a few months ago. This ad is just completely unacceptable to community standards,” read the complaint to the Advertising Standards Board.

The ASB noted that “while the overall presentation of the man being punched is of a slapstick nature in that he is wearing a bow tie and his glasses are askew, in the board’s view this slapstick nature is overridden by the fact that the punch is realistic and the man’s reaction does not appear to be positive.”

The board also reckoned that, since the ad was on the back of a bus, it was likely to seen by children.

It also took the view that since the ‘king hit’ issue has reared its head in Sydney recently, the ad was not justifiable in the context of the service being advertised.

RJ Graphics has since removed the offending ad from bus backs, but it continues to run on the company’s website.


  1. Mike
    29 Jan 13
    5:17 pm

  2. It’s about time the “watchdogs” started focusing on violence rather than sex or sexuality as being worth censoring.
    At last their priorities are beginning to make some sense.
    Shame on those who created this – it’s grossly offensive on every level.

  3. Mia Jane
    29 Jan 13
    5:33 pm

  4. In media we talk about hits do we not?

  5. derrick
    29 Jan 13
    5:39 pm

  6. pffff

    bizarre reasoning.

    ‘not justifiable in the context of the service being advertised’


    so we have to show literal depictions of the service your advertising now?


  7. zumabeach
    29 Jan 13
    11:32 pm

  8. Having recently witnessed a situation that spiralled out of hand when drunken yobs “king hit” an innocent bystander and then punched and kicked him to the ground, cheap advertising shots like this – bad pun intended – sicken me. When you witness real life violence and hear fists smashing into faces, breaking eye sockets and noses, and then see blood being sprayed over clothing and bystanders your own blood runs cold and a couple of weeks later you don’t have much time for wacky creative types and their supposedly edgy concept that turns out to be totally offensive.

  9. N
    30 Jan 13
    10:01 am

  10. What graphic design studio of any standing advertises on buses, and while they’re at it, uses a stock image? (http://www.gettyimages.com.au/...../143918930)

  11. derrick
    30 Jan 13
    10:17 am

  12. over to you Stephen…

    It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that,” as if that gives them certain rights. It’s simply a whine. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase – “I’m so offended by that.” Well, so fucking what?

    (sorry about your run in with that though)

  13. Interstingly
    30 Jan 13
    11:38 am

  14. His spittle appears to be in the shape of a pair of Y-fronts. Is there a hidden message no-one has picked up here?

  15. Jimi Bostock
    30 Jan 13
    1:49 pm

  16. this would be one graphic design firm to avoid I think – very stoopid idea, no design at all, and a stock image – impact, I think not :)

  17. Anonymous
    1 Feb 13
    1:49 pm

  18. When did we start assuming that ALL adults have zero capacity for good judgement.

    Regardless of whether the ad is good or bad at advertising its service, it’s also not advocating that someone go out and ‘king hit’ a random person on the street…