Television advertisement for Rabo Direct featured a couple sitting on the couch, reading newspapers.
Man: “We should open a savings account for Jimmy’s college”
Woman: “Which bank?”
Man: “Ah, any bank”
Woman: “Not a savings specialist bank?”
Man: “Ah, any bank is fine?”
The couple are then shown with their son in a car.
Son: “What college should I go to?”
Man: “Any college”
The advertisement cuts to the couple and their son outside a college. Other students are shown throwing toilet paper which is shown strewn from trees and on the ground.
Man: “Any course”
The son is shown at his graduation ceremony in mime costume.
Man: “Any job”
The parents are then shown driving to a fast food drive-in window where the son is working, dressed in his mime clothes.
The advertisement then again showed the couple on the couch.
Woman: “Maybe not just any bank”
MVO: “At RaboDirect we’re not just any bank. We’re the savings specialists.”
Two complaints were received regarding the advertisement. Both complainants considered that the advertisement was offensive to fast food workers. One complainant considered that the advertisement was racist towards the fast food worker while the other complainant considered that the advertisement portrayed the parents as being disappointed that their son was working in a fast food restaurant. The complainant also considered that the advertisement was snobbish and insulting as they did not consider that there was anything wrong with such a job.
The advertisers stated that they were surprised and sorry to hear that people had found their advertisement to be mocking and distasteful as it was not their intention to upset anyone. They stated that the advertisement featured parents who leave their child’s education to chance by choosing ‘Any College’.
They did not consider that the advertisement made fun of people who work in fast food outlets, instead they stated that it was saying that spending a significant amount of money to send your child to a clearly expensive college to become a mime artist, and then, as a mime artist to get a job in a fast food take away restaurant was a bad idea. They said that mime artists do not speak and make their career out of pretending to be in a glass box, so they therefore felt it would be humorous to put a mime artist in an actual glass box with a head set on. They also stated that they did not consider that the advertisement was racist in any way and were unsure how it could be interpreted as such.
They then stated that the situation depicted in the advertisement was a product of the imagination of the couple at the start of the advertisement and the outcome lead back to the start of the advertisement. They considered that the advertisement’s humour lay in the absurdity of the consequences of making no decision.
Complaints Not Upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. The Committee, while noting the concerns raised, did not consider, taking account of all the circumstances related to college selection and course choices, that the advertisement was offensive to fast food workers and therefore, did not consider that it was in breach of Section 2.02 of the Code.
No further action required.