New ad rules show PC madness
A POLITICALLY correct crackdown on comedy and gender roles in commercials has banned portrayals of women tackling housework as well as flustered fathers grappling with childminding duties.
Ad agencies have been warned they will be reprimanded for "discrimination or vilification" if they show "a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning" or a suggest a father is bad at parenting.
The "Code of Ethics" changes introduced by Australian Association of National Advertisers has introduced the restrictions to prevent what it has labelled the spread of negative gender stereotypes.
The Ads Standards Community Panel - which assesses whether complaints breach the rules - forced UltraTune Australia last month to modify an advert to make female drivers appear more "confident" and less "unintelligent".
In that case the panel complained the female actors depicting a scene in which their car broke down at a railway crossing as a train hurtled towards them reinforced a "negative depiction of women" being helpless.
"The board considered that the women are depicted as unintelligent in the way in which they sit passively, with blank faces, in the car on the train tracks and also in the way they appear to not notice the oncoming train," the panel wrote.
"The depiction of the women's reaction to their situation is a negative depiction of women and does amount to vilification of women."
The company was forced to amend the ad to make the women look powerful and decisive before the complaint was formally dismissed.
"The majority of the panel considered that the women were shown taking action to save themselves immediately after the threat has been realised," the panel wrote after the ad was changed, "the panel considered that the women were shown as confident and in control."
The AANA changes have since gone a step further, banning the portrayal of specific acts.
"(An ad breaches the code if it) depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up; suggests that a specific activity is inappropriate for boys because it is stereotypically associated with girls or features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks."
The AANA declined to reveal how many complaints the public made about gender stereotypes before the changes were made.
"Advertising contributes to cultural attitudes and there is a social imperative to positively effect change in the way people are portrayed," said AANA chief executive John Broome.
"The AANA's new guidance aims to reinforce responsible advertising that does not diminish or limit the role of women and men in society."
The organisation also released a statement saying the new gender rules would prevent advertisers and agencies from "unwittingly" reinforcing negative stereotypes.
The Ad Standards Community Panel also reprimanded iSelect for an ad in which a woman "aggressively hit a pinata" because it depicted an "out-of-control" woman.
"The woman was depicted in an out-of-control manner and her aggression and lack of awareness due to the anger displayed through her actions would be considered unsafe for the children around her," the panel wrote.
Ad Standards chief executive Fiona Jolly said she welcomed "additional guidance".
But advertising expert and Gruen panellist Rowan Dean said "social engineering" was destroying the advertising industry.
"The only goal with advertising is to make your product more appealing … and if you start doing all this social engineering and political correctness clients will realise they won't need your advertising," said Mr Dean, who is also a Sky host.
"We should leave it to the consumer because the public vote with their wallet and if they are offended by an ad they won't buy the product."
WHAT THEY DIDN'T LIKE AND WHY
Sportsbet - TV - Free-to-air
A man is seen naked from the waist up and appears to be manscaping.
Number of complaints: 793
Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.2 - Exploitative or degrading, 2.3 - Violence and 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity.
iSelect - TV - Free-to-air
A woman aggressively hits a piñata in front of a group of children.
Number of complaints: 715
Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.3 - Violence and 2.6 - Health and safety.
Ultra Tune - TV - Free-to-air
Three women driving to a costume party crash a car avoiding a tiger on the road, Mike Tyson appears to help.
Number of complaints: 134
Issues of concern: 2.1 - Discrimination or vilification, 2.2 - Exploitative or degrading, 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity and 2.6 - Health and safety.
Youfoodz - TV - Free-to-air
A couple discusses the times and place they 'do it' it is then revealed they are talking about eating Youfoodz meals.
Number of complaints: 49
Issues of concern: 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity and 2.5 - Language.
Yum Restaurants International - TV - Free-to-air
A couple is shown a drawing their child completed of 'Mum and Dad naked wrestling', the parents then suggest going to KFC.
Number of complaints: 46
Issues of concern: 2.4 - Sex/sexuality/nudity.