Ad that says armless people can’t beat a drum is ruled offensive by watchdog

Llewellyn MotosThe Ad Standards Board has ruled against a radio ad promoting a car yard which said it prices would not be beaten – like a drum next to somebody without arms.

The ASB said that the reference in the ad from Queensland-based Llewellyn Motors had the “potential to make people think less of a person with a disability”.

The radio ad – which aired on Grant Broadcasters’ River 94.9 – featured the jingle: “We can’t be beaten!”, with a voiceover referring to “Llewellyn Holden… won’t be beaten… Just like a drum…that’s next to a guy with no arms”.

The complaint to the ASB said: “I referred this to the radio company and they believe that this is comedy? It is offensive, extremely poor comedy if that and totally unnecessary to the ad’s intended audience and message.”

Llewellyn Motors defended the spot, telling the ASB the commercial was “presented in a comedic frame and not discrimination or vilification of a disability”.

While the board noted that the phrase was intended to make a connection with the prices of the vehicles not being beaten by a competitor, the majority of the board felt that an ad “is presenting the loss of limbs in a negative way and is suggesting that losing a limb would prevent you from doing certain things”.

The Board felt the reference was not a true depiction of the capacity of a person with a disability and was not relevant to the product.

It ruled: “Using a disability to make a joke is inappropriate and does have the potential to make people think less of a person with a disability .”


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