A radio advertisement for Greyhound Racing stated:
“For office parties where it’s ok to call your boss a loser.” A paper whistle can be heard.
“Where it’s perfectly acceptable to hug the attractive intern - repeatedly.” A man can be heard sighing in the background.
“Where middle management high-five non-stop.” Sound effect of high fives.
“And absolutely everyone is chasing a bit of tail. For all this & more, it has to be the dogs. Book your office party at the dogs and as well as winning the love of your co-workers, we’ll also give you your very own treat. Visit gogreyhoundracing.ie today & book your Christmas party. Terms & conditions apply.”
The complainant considered that the advertisement condoned sexual harassment in the workplace. She considered that the advertisement was condoning inappropriate behaviour as the intern, who she considered often had few rights in the workplace, was being subject to unwarranted advances from a man. She considered that it was trivialising workplace harassment.
The advertiser stated that they were sorry that the advertisement had caused offence. They said that they wanted to communicate that the excitement of a night at the Dogs caused people to act in a joyful way without any nefarious or sexist motivations. It was never their intention to infer that “men on nights out spent their time groping the intern”.
They stated that after a long standing observation of work nights out at their venues, they had seen this type of high spirits regularly, as people forget the formality of the office and enjoy shared moments of fun, especially when their greyhound has crossed the finishing line first. They said that this concept was further developed in the copy by “where it’s ok to call your boss a loser” and “where middle management high five non-stop”. They said that this comedic approach was required to give the advertisement ‘cut-through’ and recall in the commercial break and they regretted that it had been interpreted in a different manner to that which they intended. They said that they had tested the advertisement with colleagues and peers and did not receive this type of feedback.
Complaint not upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted the concerns raised by the complainant, however, they did not consider that the advertisement was condoning sexual harassment in the workplace. They considered that the overall tone of the advertisement was light-hearted and did not consider that it was in breach of Section 2.30 of the Code.
No further action required.