Rock chick transforming chicken ad cleared of discriminating against girls with tattoos

A Hungry Jack’s ad featuring a tattooed rick chick with piercings being turned into a demure girl in a floral dress by eating a chicken Tendergrill burger has been cleared of disparaging people with alternative lifestyles.

The Hungry Jack’s ad by Clemenger BBDO Sydney features the girl, a drummer in a band, becoming increasingly clean cut with each bite.

One complaint to the Advertising Standards Board stated: “I’m a Caucasian middle-class professional woman. There is nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing wrong with my piercings or tattoos and any suggestion to the contrary is insulting.”

Another stated: “I am disgusted and outraged that they try to push the opinion that an alternative style is a negative thing. It is biased judgmental and bigoted. They have no right to say who is a better person by the way they style themselves.”

Another stated: “If the advertisement was re-shot in a racial framework and showed a person of any other racial background morphing into a Caucasian white-collar professional it would never have been allowed to air. The only way that this possibly could have gone worse was if the initial image was of a sex worker.”

But Hungry Jack’s and Clems argued in their response to the ASB:

“The TVC plays on the idea that unhealthy food is “naughty” food, while healthy food, and the TenderGrill® in particular, is “good” food. To help the audience visualise this, the alternatively styled characters are used to represent rebelliousness and something away from the mainstream.

“The TVC depicts an alternative girl with tattoos and piercings devouring an obviously delicious TenderGrill® burger and turning into a more conventional looking girl in the process. However, contrary to what appears to be the thrust of the complaint, far from suggesting that the burger somehow makes the alternative girl “better” by turning her into a “good” girl, the TVC shows that the alternative look is much preferred by the girl and her companions. Upon seeing her new look, the girl and her band-mate scream in horror.

“The contrast between this colourful and creative musician and the girl she turns into is not intended to denigrate the former way of life and dress, not in our view does it do so. In fact, and the complainant appears to agree, the latter is “plain” in comparison, which might even suggest that the alternative style is more exciting than the mainstream.”

The ASB ruled: “The Board considered that the advertisement does present two stereotypes but considered that the interpretation likely to be taken by the community is clearly a message about the product and is not a negative portrayal of either type of young woman. Based on the above the Board determined that the advertisement did not depict material that discriminated against or vilified any person or section of society.”


  1. Simon
    10 Jul 12
    3:15 pm

  2. Next thing you know we’ll have bikies writing into the ASB to complain. Does the Australian general public not have anything better to do?

  3. Hoin
    10 Jul 12
    3:35 pm

  4. Aren’t these complaints getting just a little bit far fetched? I thought the silly season didn’t start until December.

  5. anon
    10 Jul 12
    3:43 pm

  6. My one regret is that I once had the opportunity to respond to one of these and I took our lawyer’s advice and wrote out a long and serious reply. I should have just written “You can’t argue with stupid.”. Oh well, I’m sure there will be a next time.

  7. plain girl
    10 Jul 12
    4:31 pm

  8. Right, that does it.

    I’m submitting a complaint to the ASB that this HJ ad denigrates the “plain clean cut” lifestyle.

  9. AdGrunt
    10 Jul 12
    4:34 pm

  10. The ASB should have a “overthought outrage” rejection reason.


  11. Dabug
    10 Jul 12
    11:10 pm

  12. Yes, it’s amazing what people complain about. I’m of the belief that 95% of the work legal departments do is to prevent court cases by the stupid 1%. When all the stupid 1% need is a slap.

  13. Surin
    11 Jul 12
    10:32 am

  14. He’s an idea, are people being paid to complain by social media strategists? I just can’t fathom how anyone could be bothered to complain about that ad.

  15. I McHunt
    11 Jul 12
    11:39 am

  16. does no one else think that someone related to the agency/ client/ PR are complaining about their own ads to gain more popularity/ hits, etc? There is too much of this going on not to be suspicious.

  17. AyDee
    11 Jul 12
    11:51 am

  18. Is there be some kind of minimum number of complaints needed to raise a case? Surely one person (idiot) can’t create this much work…….

  19. Circling Sharks
    11 Jul 12
    12:25 pm

  20. I think if she was actually shown choosing the burger over another food product it would be passable. The way it is, for me, definitely suggests that one lifestyle is ‘better’ than another lifestyle as I felt there wasn’t a great deal of attention put on the product, but on the woman.

  21. Dawn
    11 Jul 12
    12:26 pm

  22. Seriously…Australians are a pack of whingers. This is absolutely ludicrous.

  23. Justin Beerbong
    11 Jul 12
    12:44 pm

  24. I’m sorry, but nobody with piercings and tattoos would bother to take the time to complain to the ASB.

  25. Mark
    11 Jul 12
    2:04 pm

  26. I’m calling BS on that complaint – is there an ad agency trying to get more attention here or not?

  27. AyDee
    11 Jul 12
    2:18 pm

  28. I checked the ASB website and only one single person needs to complain to launch a formal invesitgation. And if that single person does not agree with the ASB determination they can then request a review. One crack pot keeping a dozen people busy! Talk about a squeeky wheel…….

  29. Venessa
    11 Jul 12
    2:29 pm

  30. The fact that she (and her band members) screams when she sees the “demure girl” says the other way, that the negativity is towards the “demure” not the alternate. The only thing that hungry jacks are saying is that being alternate is “naughty” which.. is the very base of some alternative choices.. rebellion/not norm.
    I am a girl with tattoos, and I would be in a rock band if I could, and this holds absolutely no offence to me!

  31. Sucha Cynic
    11 Jul 12
    2:33 pm

  32. Or maybe they created the complaint on order to get more attention, knowing either way it would raise the profile?

  33. Surin
    11 Jul 12
    2:35 pm

  34. Yes Mark, conspiracy I agree. If so they are having there moment in the mumbrella sun . Maybe they are part of this conversation!!

  35. Richard Moss
    11 Jul 12
    3:57 pm

  36. Ironically, this is one of the few adds I really like.

    We seem to have stumbled along the evolutionary road, to a place where many take themselves far too seriously.

    I have noticed that those who strongly associate themselves with what they call an “Alternative” life style, have already decided that there is a “Norm” and that it is not worth having a bar of.
    How dare they delineate the “Norm” How dare they tick a boarder around a chunk of reality (a chunk big enough to be called “The Norm”) and then claim to be abused by that group for being recognised by it, after deciding to exclude themselves from it.

    The Opera isn’t over until the Cat Lady sings. Beware the Geek barring gifts and don’t be surprised by the good Somalian.