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.)


  1. bearit
    3 Feb 11
    10:28 am

  2. What can you say…definitely a pure blonde complaint

  3. AdGrunt
    3 Feb 11
    1:09 pm

  4. Harold Scruby does this trick, but without the ironic intentions…

  5. Peggy Suss
    3 Feb 11
    1:30 pm

  6. I think you will find that the ASB – by law – MUST investigate all written complaints. As Zac has clearly demonstrated this nanny-state approach gives a disproportionately loud voice to all the nutbaggers out there (not that Zac is a nutbagger).

    So here’s my thought.

    Why don’t we all join up to all the nutbag societies that lobby, and by sheer weight of numbers change their agendas? Let’s call it reverse-nutbagging!

  7. malcolm
    3 Feb 11
    2:18 pm

  8. I’m offended by the idea that all it takes to sell beer is two ugly schlubs ripping a dress off a beautiful blonde who is plunging to her death. who thinks up this crap?

  9. Ben
    3 Feb 11
    2:54 pm

  10. Oh thank God, I hadn’t heard the term Nanny State for so long…

  11. Billy State
    3 Feb 11
    10:14 pm

  12. Settle down kids. I don’t understand the fuss? Blonde tastes of horse p1ss anyway.

    In my local bottlo at the moment I can pick up a case of either Lowenbrau or Bitburger for only $40!!!

    Quite simply divine beer compared to Pure Blonde. I havent seen an advert for either of the above beers ever in Australia.

    Admittedly I will pick Blonde over New or VB; so perhaps gumby’s and Blonde’s does sell beer to me..?

    Admittedly Blonde does make me feel gruff the next day.

  13. Seaman Hornblower
    4 Feb 11
    10:16 am

  14. The gravity of the situation is matched only by the recent-ish controversy sparked by American sex advice columnist Dan Savage when he stood up for the rights of centaur fetishists everwhere.

    The ad that started it all:

    And one of the letters that followed:

  15. AdGrunt
    4 Feb 11
    11:14 am

  16. How did this end up at Centaur fetish?

  17. Seaman Hornblower
    4 Feb 11
    12:38 pm

  18. I pride myself on my ability to lower the tone of any conversation.

  19. Carole Ann Goldsmith
    8 Feb 11
    3:41 pm

  20. Another sexist ad from our male dominated advertising industry. Time that womenget some senior positions in ad agencies and then we would not continue to get these sexist ads.
    Cruelty to animals even if they are computer generated is just not acceptable, I turn off when I see that ad and would never buy the product.


    Carole Goldsmith

  21. Honest Abe
    8 Feb 11
    4:14 pm

  22. What’s the point of it being winged if it can’t fly? Surely it’s the only one on that mountain top that survives?