Dr Mumbo

When will adland’s bias against alien abductees and hairy men end?

Dr. Mumbo is never happier then when he gets to spend an idle hour browsing the archives of the Ad Standards Board.

The fun – and insights into the hidden torments of working in marketing – come via the complaints that have been dismissed, of course.

Some gems from the list of November cases leap out.

First, Dr Mumbo presumes that those involved in an ad for Now Finance quietly patted themselves on the back for their diverse casting decision.

The complainants did not, however, see it the same way. One argued:

“Racial discrimination, why choose a black man as the victim, haven’t they been persecuted enough?”

Even better though was this:

“Prejudicial to life that does not originate on this planet. Even though the ETs are not overly realistic, the concept is disturbing especially for those that have experienced abduction. It’s like using simulated rape to sell toothpaste.”

For the future of humanity, Dr Mumbo can only hope that this complainant was simply trolling the ASB.

Patiently, the brand responded: “Now Finance believes there is no racial discrimination in the commercial. The fact that the actor is black is irrelevant to the story or advert being portrayed. The actor was selected after a full casting process (for which we can provide details upon request), as the best talent to bring the creative concept to life. As part of the casting process, there was no preference based on the actor’s race.

“In addition, the use of aliens and ET is purely presented for comedic effect and does not portray the everyday life of typical Australia. We believe that there is no emphasis on violence, portrayal of rape, or a realistic scenario that is predominant in Australia today.”


And Dr. Mumbo can’t help but wonder if the same troll is behind this one, regarding a Motor Accident Commission South Australia safety ad featuring “the hairy fairy”:

“I’m offended as for years I have been subject to ridicule for being a hairy guy and this ad is playing on the general public’s dislike of hairy guys. I feel the whole campaign utilises people’s dislike of hairy guys to reinforce a speeding message which has nothing to do with speeding. Its degrades and reinforces the public dislike of hairy people. No ad should degrade any person.”

Even Ogilvy’s work for Hahn Super Dry has found its detractors

Somebody watched the above ad, and then took from it this idea: “I object to the advert because it breaks the code of conduct by showing people drinking beer and then jumping out of an aeroplane. It is not safe for people to drink alcohol and then go sky-diving.”

And sometimes the complaint may say more about the person making it, like the person who doesn’t like an ad for Go Health Clubs.


“The focus of the advertisement is the words “TIGHT ASS” alongside an image that draws attention to a woman’s external anal sphincter. The focal point of the image (i.e., the point to which the human eye is drawn because of the combined effect of image composition, camera position, highlighting, shading, and colours) is the location of the woman’s external anal sphincter.

“The woman’s lower back is arched. An arched lower back has two meanings or contexts. One, it is good practice to arch the lower back during a barbell squat exercise as shown in the image. Two, a woman’s back is arched during sexual pleasure, sexual activity and during sexual displays, flirtation and other mate-seeking behaviours.”

Dr. Mumbo loves the public.


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