A Hungry Jack’s ad featuring a tattooed rick chick with piercings being turned into a demure girl in a floral dress by eating a chicken Tendergrill burger has been cleared of disparaging people with alternative lifestyles.
The Hungry Jack’s ad by Clemenger BBDO Sydney features the girl, a drummer in a band, becoming increasingly clean cut with each bite.
One complaint to the Advertising Standards Board stated: “I’m a Caucasian middle-class professional woman. There is nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing wrong with my piercings or tattoos and any suggestion to the contrary is insulting.”
Another stated: “I am disgusted and outraged that they try to push the opinion that an alternative style is a negative thing. It is biased judgmental and bigoted. They have no right to say who is a better person by the way they style themselves.”
Another stated: “If the advertisement was re-shot in a racial framework and showed a person of any other racial background morphing into a Caucasian white-collar professional it would never have been allowed to air. The only way that this possibly could have gone worse was if the initial image was of a sex worker.”
But Hungry Jack’s and Clems argued in their response to the ASB:
“The TVC plays on the idea that unhealthy food is “naughty” food, while healthy food, and the TenderGrill® in particular, is “good” food. To help the audience visualise this, the alternatively styled characters are used to represent rebelliousness and something away from the mainstream.
“The TVC depicts an alternative girl with tattoos and piercings devouring an obviously delicious TenderGrill® burger and turning into a more conventional looking girl in the process. However, contrary to what appears to be the thrust of the complaint, far from suggesting that the burger somehow makes the alternative girl “better” by turning her into a “good” girl, the TVC shows that the alternative look is much preferred by the girl and her companions. Upon seeing her new look, the girl and her band-mate scream in horror.
“The contrast between this colourful and creative musician and the girl she turns into is not intended to denigrate the former way of life and dress, not in our view does it do so. In fact, and the complainant appears to agree, the latter is “plain” in comparison, which might even suggest that the alternative style is more exciting than the mainstream.”
The ASB ruled: “The Board considered that the advertisement does present two stereotypes but considered that the interpretation likely to be taken by the community is clearly a message about the product and is not a negative portrayal of either type of young woman. Based on the above the Board determined that the advertisement did not depict material that discriminated against or vilified any person or section of society.”