Watchdog bans Sir Walter’s sausage, arguing it ‘endorses bullying and aggressive behaviour’

An ad for turf supplier Sir Walter Turf, which features a talking sausage, has been banned by the ad watchdog because of a ruling that the ad “depicts and endorses bullying and aggressive behaviour.”

The Ad Standards Bureau ruling found that the scene where the man has grass pushed into his mouth and face, was a realistic depiction of an action that could be considered as a violent act.

Advertisers are banned in Australia from depicting violence, “unless it is justifiable in the context of the product or service advertised.”

In the case of the Sir Walters Turf the complainant commented that the ad, which focuses on the experiences of man who is hosting a party only to find his guests abandon the event after finding his grass is not certified, showed acts of bullying.

“To sell a product this ad promotes and encourages physical bullying and peer pressure during a familiar social activity,” wrote the complainant.

“In a time when we are trying to stop bullying we allow this ‘bully’ to physically violate this man in such a derogatory way that all the guests leave the party, the host is left depressed, the bully glorified.”

Sir Walter’s Turf responded that the acts were intended to be comical.

“The action portrayed in TV commercial was not intended to depict violence or bullying in any way. Rather it was intended to portray a totally unrealistic but humorous scenario, through the actions and reactions that are grossly exaggerated and removed from reality, to reinforce a message about choosing the right turf product.”

The ASB ruling found: “The Board considered that exaggerated scenes of guests fleeing the party, the dead lawn and the talking sausage were humorous and unrealistic depictions…

“In the Board’s view the man’s actions were realistic and indicative of aggressive and bullying behaviour. The Board considered that as there is no consequence to the behaviour of both pushing the grass into the other man’s mouth and rubbing grass in his face, the behaviour appears to be condoned.

“The Board noted that bullying type behaviour is of strong community concern and considered that the issue is being trivialised in the advertisement.

“The Board considered that the advertisement did present violence that was not justifiable in the context of the product being advertised.”

Nic Christensen 



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