Dick Smith ‘banned’ Australia Day ad features shipwrecked refugees

dick smith boat peopleBoat people staggering ashore from a burning shipwreck feature in a jingoistic ad created for Dick Smith Foods which the entrepreneur claims has been banned from primetime by the TV networks.

The ad – timed for Australia Day – has been created for the Australian food company by comedian and producer Dan Ilic through his company Downwind Media.

Smith claims in the ad that immigrants are headed to Australia to enjoy his food. He says: “Why else would thousands be trying to get here?”

View the ad:

The ad also features innuendo around the phrase “I love Dick”.

Ilic claims that Smith planned to pay to air the ad during the 6pm news bulletins on Australia Day. Dick Smith Foods says that the ad has been denied permission to air in a daytime timeslot. However, the claim that Smith planned to air the ad in primetime does conflict somewhat with the fact that a minute long ad would be an unusually inefficient and expensive media spend for a comparatively small brand.

A tactic adopted in the US is to create a controversial ad ahead of a big TV event, but to have it banned – which generates free media coverage without having to pay to air it. Among the proponents of this tactic is animal rights group PETA which generated a huge amount of media coverage for its “too hot for the super bowl” veggie lover ad.

Smith has also generated news coverage previously by claiming News Limited was censoring him.

The Dick Smith Foods ad also takes aim at US-based brands such as Kraft, which owns Vegemite, and MasterFoods, labelling them “not true blue”.

dick smith textsIlic told Mumbrella in an email: “I just finished directing and producing a TVC for Dick Smith Foods for Australia Day it’s been refused a G rating. Which in effect has banned it from being broadcast during the 6pm news bulletins on Australia Day.

“Dick has spend $100k on a media buy for Australia Day and he’s furious that his spot won’t get a run. The spot has many controversial aspects to it, including a shot with Dick Smith handing out his products to boat people arriving on shore. But it seems that bone of contention is a line of harmless innuendo.”

He also forwarded screen grabs of what he claimed were messages from Smith attacking “the fun police” for banning the ad.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.