Ad watchdog rules against Captain Risky home insurance for hot tub scene being too risky

A Budget Direct TV ad featuring Captain Risky has been banned by the ad watchdog due to the unsafe behaviour depicted around a hot tub and electrical equipment.

The TV spot is the second in the campaign featuring the risk-taker and was created by 303Lowe Sydney.

A complaint against it argued it portrayed a serious safety hazard in a trivial way.

“Children see an adult exposing himself to a playful situation with flashing wires and the inference is that it is fun and acceptable I believe this shows an extremely dangerous scenario to viewers especially those of younger years who may interpret the scene as perfectly safe thereby possibly putting the young viewer’s lives at risk by them believing everything is OK and on harm can come to them,” the complaint read.

Budget Direct defended the ad, saying it is clearly targeted at adults “who are now or may soon be in the market for Home & Contents insurance, and uses humour and exaggerated situations that members of the target audience would easily comprehend”.

“No children are depicted in the advert, children are clearly not being targeted as potential insurance customers and the advert is not scheduled to air in any children’s programs,” the insurer said in their response to the complaint.

Budget Direct also told the Ad Standards Board (ASB) the ad was clearly set in a stylised, fantasy world and was clearly a satirical take.

“The larger than life personality, the character’s use of language (“My Temple of Risk” “I have the Sun tamed like a Shih Tzu Poodle”), the props (the fact that the house is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of mirrors) and Captain Risky’s appearance all clearly point to the satire of the scenario. No reasonable person could ever suggest other than this is an over the top comedic stance.”

In its ruling, the board noted the exaggerated behaviour of the character and “considered that the overall tone is humorous and fantastical” however, felt the ad went against community efforts to ensure people behaved safely around electricity and water.

The complaint was upheld.

In response to the ruling, Budget Direct said the ad would not air after today.

“Whilst this is a disappointing result, as we considered this execution to be pure fantasy, it does highlight exactly why Budget Direct wouldn’t insure Captain Risky (to keep prices low for everyone else). To reiterate Budget Direct does not support or condone potentially dangerous/unsafe behaviour. This advertisement in its current form will not be aired after Wednesday 8th April 20,” the insurer said.

In a statement Budget Direct director of marketing and digital Jonathan Kerr said: “Budget Direct actively discourages high risk takers and risky circumstances which is how we keep our prices so low.

“The Captain Risky commercials serve to demonstrate our point of difference through highly fantastical scenarios which would be almost impossible for the general public to emulate. However we respect ASB’s ruling and have chosen to withdraw the commercial concerned.

“The campaign is going very well – Captain Risky was the most watched ad slot in Australia on YouTube for Quarter One 2015, with over 1.6 million views. Some fans are even calling for him to star in a full-length movie!”


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