A company specialising in photography and framing has been slapped on the wrist by the advertising watchdog for a bumper sticker that jokingly claim it could “shoot” your wife and “frame” your mother-in-law.
Fantastic Framing is a mobile picture framing company with services in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Last month, the business caught the eye of the Advertising Standards Board after the watchdog received a complaint by someone who claimed Fantastic Framing was using “sexist and violent” advertising.
The complaint in question centred on an ad at the rear of one of Fantastic Framing’s vans.
The ad, which uses wordplay to promote the company’s framing services, claimed it could “shoot your wife and frame your mother-in-law”.
“If you want, we can hang them too,” the ad said.
When quizzed about the sticker, Fantastic Framing said its customers often remark on the humour of its wordplay.
“There is no bad intention for this advertising,” Fantastic Framing told the Ad Standards Board in response to the complaint.
“It is purely a joke which relates to marriage and picture frames.”
While the advertising watchdog noted the ad was intended to be funny, the board also considered how domestic violence is currently a major issue of community concern.
As a result, the advertising watchdog ruled the ad breached advertising standards because the double-meaning of “shoot”, “frame” and “hang” is not funny in contemporary society.
Because of this, the board upheld the complaint.
Fantastic Framing has told the Ad Standards Board it will change the sticker at the back of its van accordingly.
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Businesses need to be mindful of domestic violence issues in their advertising
Michelle Gamble, founder of Marketing Angels, told SmartCompany the advertising watchdog didn’t find this ad funny because it’s “too close to what’s happening in reality”.
“You can’t ignore the current focus on domestic violence,” Gamble says.
“I think it’s incredibly insensitive marketing. It’s not funny. Women are still being killed at an alarming rate by partners. It’s a really poor choice [of words].”
Gamble says when drawing on humour, it’s best practise for businesses to show the ad to a few people outside of their business.
“I’m sure these small business owners are probably fantastic at framing,” Gamble says.
“But sometimes you can’t see the obvious thing in front of you [when you’re busy running a business]. It doesn’t hurt to get an opinion from three or four people who aren’t attached to your business to get an independent perspective.”
SmartCompany contacted Fantastic Framing but did not receive a response prior to publication.