A radio ad from a Queensland car yard has fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Board for portraying people with disabilities in a negative way.
The ad from Llewellyn Motors is the latest example of the advertising watchdog cracking down on inappropriate ads which do not specifically relate to the product they are advertising, after a complaint against a billboard ad from a Sydney scrap metal yard was also upheld.
The car yard’s ad, which aired on Grant Broadcasters’ River 94.9 featured a jingle containing the words “We can’t be beaten” and a voiceover which said: “Llewellyn Holden … won’t be beaten … Just like a drum … that’s next to a guy with no arms.”
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One complaint received by the Ad Standards Board took issue with the apparent lack of humour in the ad.
“I referred this to the radio company and they believe that this is comedy?” said the complainant. “It is offensive, extremely poor comedy if that and totally unnecessary to the ad’s intended audience and message.”
The watchdog agreed, ruling the ad “is presenting the loss of limbs in a negative way and is suggesting that losing a limb would prevent you from doing certain things”.
“Using a disability to make a joke is inappropriate and does have the potential to make people think less of a person with a disability,” said the board.
SmartCompany contacted Llewellyn Motors and was directed to statements provided by the company to the ASB.
“We have reviewed the complaint received regarding our radio commercial aired on River 94.9 and believe the commercials are presented in a comedic frame and not discrimination or vilification of a disability,” said Llewellyn Motors in response to the initial complaint.
“Our creative and marketing team are aware and comply with the ASB guidelines.”
However, the company said it would not use the advertising material again and would review its internal processes in response to the ruling “to ensure we are in compliance with the Advertising Standards Bureau”.
“We have reviewed the case report and shared with our outsourced creative agency,” said Llewellyn Motors. “Both of us did not intend for anyone to be offended, no malice was intended.”