ASB rules against True Value Solar TV ad for normalising use of sun beds

A TV ad for True Value Solar has been ruled against by the Ad Standards Board for featuring a solarium which the board said normalised and could encourage the use of a sun bed.

The spot features brand ambassador Tom Williams and Essendon FC head coach Mark Thompson. The two talk about a new purchase Thompson has made, with Thompson dismissing Williams’ concerns on the high energy cost of powering it as he has already installed a True Value Solar System. Thompson’s purchase is revealed to be a home anti-ageing solarium fitted with collagen globes.

Complainants argued the spot was irresponsible, citing that solariums are illegal in some states.

One complaint read: “The ad distinctly shows a sun tanning solarium to show how the savings of using solar power , but with the death death of Clair from Cancer (sic) and all the medical information about the dangers of sun tanning is distasteful to her family and to our Government who even had ads to try to stop people from this kind of tanning. I think it is distasteful and sends the wrong message.”

True Value Solar defended the spot, saying it was not supporting the use of tanning units and did not have commercial interests in any businesses which supply commercial tanning units.

The advertiser also expressed its support for the banning of commercial solariums or tanning units, and acknowledged Clare Oliver’s battle with cancer and he efforts in making the public aware of the dangers of solariums.

They also highlighted the different between a UV solarium and the Collagen solarium depicted in the ad.

“It is unfortunate that Mark Thompson was thought, by the complainants, to be lying in a solarium fitted with UV globes (in order to obtain a tan). In fact, he was not. The solarium in question was fitted with Collagen globes, which do not emit any form of harmful UV radiation. Collagen globes are used for skin anti-aging treatment and not for tanning,” True Value Solar said.

They argued the depiction of Thompson using this device was meant to “invoke” the viewer’s sense of humour.

While the Ad Standards Board noted the clarification that the ad depicted a collagen bed, the board ruled that it was not clear in the ad that the bed depicted was a collagen bed as opposed to a sun-tanning bed.

It was the board’s view that the depiction of Thompson using what appears to be a sun-tanning bed normalises and could encourage the use of a sun bed.

Thus the complaint was upheld due to the ad depicting material contrary to prevailing community standards.


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