The advertising features a mother and her two grown up sons’ shopping in Lidl. They chat about the items which they are proposing to buy. The first section of the store they visit is the fruit and vegetable aisle. One son offers to go and get the meat and the conversation ensues as follows:
Son 1 (S1): "Will I go up and get the meat?"
Mum: "You go and get the meat, honey."
Son 2 (S2): "You go and get your meat."
S1: "Lovely, back in a bit so."
S1 returns with several packets of meats and says "I have returned."
When his mum sees the amount of meat he is proposing to buy she exclaims:
"Oh, Jesus. Wait a second, wait a second!"
The family continue with their shopping; they travel through the tea and coffee aisle; the cake and biscuit section, the freezer cabinets and on to the toiletries. The mum poses the following question to her sons:
"Family pack of condoms?"
The question is greeted with silence from both sons until one says “moving on”.
The on screen text reads:
FULL SHOP ONLY
Family of 3.
MORE RANGE. MORE VALUE. MORE FOR YOU…”
The complainants raised two issues with the advertising.
Some complainants considered it unacceptable, disrespectful and offensive for the name of ‘Jesus’ to be uttered as a common swear word. One complainant said that he considered its use to be insulting to Catholics and Christians of all denominations.
Some complainants considered the reference to the ‘family pack of condoms’ to be inappropriate. It was their opinion that the advertisement had aired at a time when children may have been watching television.
The advertisers said they were cognisant of all aspects of the ASAI Code in the preparation of their marketing communications. They said their intention in relation to the advertising to hand had been to portray an accurate insight into how different families conducted their weekly shopping in Lidl stores.
They said their current campaign featured six actual families who were followed through the use of an in-store “Trolley Cam” whilst doing their weekly shop. They said the dialogue that ensued had been entirely unscripted and each advertisement had been chosen in order to demonstrate the diversity in methods of communication that their customers’ utilised while shopping in their stores.
The advertisers said that any unscripted utterances during the course of the advertisement had not been used in an attempt to belittle, demean or undermine any religion or any individual, rather it had been used in the colloquial sense of the word, i.e. as a way of conveying surprise or amused bewilderment at the scene unfolding.
The advertisers said that the subject of purchasing condoms had been broached during the course of the family’s shop. They said as the dialogue had been unscripted it had captured a genuine representation of their customers’ shopping habits, which in turn invariably resulted in the advertising containing some candid moments. They said it was their opinion that their advertising had not breached Section 3.20 of the Code as it had not exploited sexuality or contained any undue coarseness or innuendo but had rather referenced an everyday product which they sold in their stores.
In conclusion they said the advertisement had been given a post 7pm restriction by three television channels and a post 9pm restriction by another. They said it had never been their intention to air their advertising to an audience outside of these restrictions. They regretted, however, that some viewers had been offended by their advertising.
Complaints Not Upheld
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted that it had not been the intention of the advertisers to cause offence on the grounds of religion. The Committee considered that religious references, in this case ‘Jesus’, were often used colloquially by the general public and the media in Ireland. While acknowledging that the use of such language may cause offence to some people, they noted the tonality of the advertisement and considered that it was not aggressive in tone or offensive. They did not consider that this element of the advertising had breached the requirements of the Code.
In this particular case, the Committee noted that the advertisement had not aired before 7pm and that it had therefore not aired in or around children’s programming. They did not consider that the advertising had addressed children either directly or indirectly nor did they consider that that its inclusion in programming at the time specified was inappropriate. They concluded that the advertising had not breached the requirements of the Code.
No further action was required in this case.