Dwarf, fat guy and chainsaw ad banned for fattism

An ad for an insurance website featuring a fat man, a dwarf and a chainsaw has been banned for demeaning fat people.

A scene in an ad for Compare Travel Insurance – when a masseuse shows disgust while massaging an obese man – discriminated against fat people, the Ad Standards Bureau has ruled.

However, the ad was found not to demean dwalves – because the dwalf is shown in a positive light.

The ad, created by Blow Communications, won Mumbrella’s Ad of the Month for December.

The ASB’s determination read: “The Board considered that the man of small stature is clearly presented as representing ‘risk’ and that this is presented as a desirable attribute for the advertised product.”

It continued: “The Board considered that the image of the man representing ‘big risk’ being massaged was demeaning to overweight people. The Board considered that the woman’s reaction to massaging this man is a reaction to his physique and physical attributes, rather than to the concept of ‘risk’.

The advertiser issued the following response:

For the record we would like to mention that we regret any offence taken to our ad campaign. It was intended to take a light hearted, comedic approach to demonstrating cutting risk down to size by taking out travel insurance.  It was never intended to upset or offend anyone.

It is also worthwhile pointing out that the Compare Travel Insurance brand has positioned itself as ‘quirky’ and ‘entertaining’ from the launch of its public campaign in 2010. Since then, the brand has stood in stark contrast to most brands within the industry and its lighthearted approach has successfully highlighted the need for travel insurance. Given we have invested quite a lot of time and money into producing the ad it would be a great disappointment and loss to have it banned. We would like to work with the Advertising Standards Bureau to address any concerns and continue to run the campaign or a revised version if required.

Price comparison insurance companies have had a poor run with the ASB of late. An ad for iSelect was banned for featuring a man using a laptop in a hot tub in January.


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