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Ad watchdog dismisses complaints against SpecSavers, AAMI and Aldi

Complaints suggesting ads for SpecSavers, AAMI and Aldi Australia were respectively cruel to animals, encouraged dangerous driving and inappropriate and “gross” have been dismissed by the Ad Standards Board (ASB).

A complaint against an ad for SpecSavers, which features a volleyball player mistaking a seagull for the ball due to bad eyesight, argued it suggested “cruelty to animals is alright”.

“Selling a health product with such a violent and abusive manner is disturbing,” the complainant said.

“I have seen this ad on other channels and I do not think it is suitable for either children or adults as it is a grotesque manipulation of the thought process.”

SpecSavers defended the spot, arguing the volleyball player had “not been portrayed as being violent against the seagull but rather has mistaken it for the ball due to his poor eyesight”.

“No real birds were ever used in the making of the TV commercial, it was all created using CGI animation,” SpecSavers added.

Meanwhile, complaints argued an AAMI ad, which sees the characters Neil and Gaz swerve to avoid a cat on the road, was “questionable” as it showed “the driver swerving to avoid an animal on the road almost as if this is the right thing to do”.

The complainant continued by saying the ad “gives a wrong impression that could cause serious accidents”.

The insurer defended the spot, saying it had used “creative licence to exaggerate a scenario or sequence of events”.

“The fact of the matter is people have car accidents and it often comes down to driver error, which may be the case in this scenario,” AAMI said.

“AAMI is not advocating for drivers to imitate this behaviour, but for customers to know AAMI will be there for them in times of need after an accident has occurred.”

Meanwhile, complainants argued a Christmas ad for retailer Aldi which features a woman saying she likes French Champagne and also French kissing, was “unsuitable for television” as it “has sexual overtones and is gross to view”.

“It’s gross and really offensive. Not just because the actors are styled to be as offensive looking as possible, but I see no relation between fetish, sexual behaviour & alcohol, either literally or comedically,” a complaint read.

“I object to this commercial because of the lewd and offensive depiction of French kissing shown in the commercial. It does not relate to the product being advertised.”

Aldi defended the ad noting its an ad for an alcoholic beverage and “is clearly targeted at adults”.

“With this audience in mind, we do not believe that showing the act of kissing translates into breaching Section 2.4 of the Code, as kissing is seen regularly on TV, in movies and on the streets of Australia every day,” the retailer said in its submission to the Ad Standards Board.

“The kiss physically depicted on screen only occurs for approximately two seconds, so does not comprise a significant proportion of the 15 second advertisement. The audience can’t actually see the two pair of lips meeting, as it is obscured by the female character’s hands. Thus, the kiss depicted on screen could not be described as being too graphic.”

All complaints were dismissed by the ASB.

Miranda Ward

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