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Wicked Campers’ explicit advertising returns after 3-year hiatus

Amongst the latest slew of Ad Standards cases for the month of April is Wicked Campers, found this time to be in breach of  Section 2.1 Discrimination or Vilification and section 2.4 Sex/sexuality/nudity of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics (the Code) for a transport advertisement.

The advertisement in question features the slogan “Back in my day blowin’ a tranny was car trouble” painted on the back of a Wicked Campers van.

Credit: The Advertiser

The slogan was described by a complaint as ‘a strong transphobic slur that is very offensive’.

“Trans young people are at very high risk for poor mental health, self-harming and suicide attempts. Around 3 in every 4 trans young people have experienced anxiety or depression. Four out of 5 trans young people have ever engaged in self-harm, and almost 1 in 2 trans young people have ever attempted suicide (48%). This is primarily because of how the world perceives and treats trans people. Having a vehicle driving around with a transphobic slur is perpetuating this.”

Wicked Campers did not provide a response to the complaint.

When considering whether the advertisement was in fact in breach of Section 2.1 Discrimination or Vilification, the Ad Standards Community Panel found the slogan to be “derogatory and vilifying towards transgender individuals” and “not considered humorous or acceptable by most reasonable adults”. With reference to Section 2.4 Sex/sexuality/nudity, the Panel found that the advertisement did refer to both sex and sexuality was “not appropriate for the back of a mobile van which is available to be seen by a broad audience, including children”.

While the Panel upheld the complaints and found the advertiser to be in breach on both counts, Wicked Campers is yet to provide a response.

It is the first Ad Standards breach in three years for the campervan hire company, which faced a national crackdown in 2019 by a number of federal and state ministers for its offensive slogans and disregard for the advertising watchdog, which had upheld 15 complaints against the company in 2018. The unified movement between the Ad Standards Bureau and multiple state governments saw state governments agree to deregister vehicles that were found to be in breach of the Code.

It is unclear if this will mark a continuation of Wicked Campers offensive history of transport advertising.

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