Best ad complaint ever? Pure Blonde cleared of cruelty to mythical winged horses
Life is, Dr Mumbo is sure, good when you work for the Ad Standards Bureau.
After all, you never know what sort of complaint you’ll get.
Take this one about Clemenger BBDO’s Pure Blonde ad that sees a burp from our bumbling heroes bring down Brewtopia and startle Colin the Pegasus.
The ASB reports one complainant as worrying:
“On the weekend just passed I was enjoying a cup of delicious tea while watching some Sunday night programming only to be confronted by an appalling commercial for Pure Blonde beer.
“I am sure I am not alone when I say winged-horse enthusiasts like myself will be outraged at the disgusting lack of treatment regarding the magnificent animal in this commercial. The rare creature is clearly depicted in distress and suggests it is later physically harmed or god forbid killed. While some consider these beautiful beasts nothing but mythical this ad supports animal cruelty for those of us who know the truth and it must be taken off the air.
“You wouldn‟t let two unicorns joust one another or show a piano falling on a drop bear… would you?”
The complaint in fact comes from one of Dr Mumbo’s favourite trouble makers, Zac Martin, who confesses all on his blog, adding: “I can’t believe it’s someone’s job to waste their time considering and responding to people like me.”
But take it seriously, the ASB did, also asking for a response from Carltion & United Breweries which responds, one suspects, with gritted teeth:
“We’d just like to state that no harm to the ‘Pegasus’ (a mythical horse that has wings – brought to life here through special effects) is depicted. Whilst the horse is clearly startled when the mountain starts to crumble – as are the humans featured – and does move with the mountain as it gives way, the horse does not come to any physical harm in the commercial. In addition to this, given the horse has wings it‟s completely reasonable to extrapolate that it flew away to safety.”
The company then destolrys the magic by revealign that filming of the horse actually took place in front of bluescreen, and a mountain wasn’t really destroyed in the process of making the ad.
Happily the board was convinced, ruling:
“Most reasonable members of the community would consider this advertisement as an unreal situation. The Board also noted that the horse is clearly shown flapping its wings.”
It does strike Dr Mumbo that the ASB is in for a dangerous time. The temptation to some to outdo Zac Martin’s complaint for ridiculousness may well be overwhelming. Hopefully.
(By the way, complaints from others about the woman falling naked to her horrific death were also dismissed.)