A van with the slogan ‘It’s better to be black than gay cos you don’t have to tell your parents’ written on the back has been banned by the advertising watchdog – years after the vehicle was first put on the road by tour operator Wicked Campers.
Just a single complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Bureau, which read: “I am greatly concerned at the offensive message on this Wicked campervan.”
The Australian carried a story headlined ‘No business like slogan business’ in 2009 that singled out Wicked Campers for using the “deliberately offensive slogan”. But until now, not a single complaint from the public has been made about the slogan.
The ASB considered that while the slogan “does reflect a reality that to tell your parents you are gay can be a difficult experience, in our view the tone of the ad suggests that being gay, and being black, is shameful.”
The ruling continued: “The board considered that a majority of the community would consider the message of the advertisement is that being black is somewhat more acceptable than being homosexual, however both characteristics are portrayed as being inferior to the superior perception of being white and heterosexual.”
Wicked Campers did not respond to the ASB’s verdict – but has since removed the slogan from its vans.
The ASB would not comment on whether Wicked Campers is Australia’s biggest serial offender in terms of complaints made about the brand.
Complaints made to the ASB about slogans or images on out of home advertising, which includes transport, have increased from 0.41% of the total in 2002 to 3.7% last year.