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.



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