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Ad board decides Westpac ad used gay stereotype but did not breach rules

A Westpac Bank ad featuring a camp male couple talking about slow payments has been cleared by the Ad Standards Board of complaints that it used gay stereotypes.

One complaint to the ASB said: “The two characters were being portrayed as gay men with horrible stereotypes that inaccurately portray gay people and is both inaccurate and offensive to gay men.”

Westpac defended the ad, claiming it was popular with the gay community.

It said: “Since launch, we have had some resounding positive feedback, with very high preliminary awareness and recognition figures especially from the gay community who have embraced the humour and its intent and congratulated Westpac on our depiction of these characters.”

The ASB ruled that the ad – among the first work for Westpac by its new agency Lavender – did not breach advertising rules. It said: “The Board agreed that the men are represented in part in a stereotypically effeminate manner but they are also represented as business owners. The Board considered that the men are presented in a manner which, although somewhat stereotypical, focuses on their frustration as business owners and is not negative.”

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