15 March 2011

The Tale of Two Ads

This Ad was Banned:

This ad wasn't:

What's the difference between these ads?  In the interests of getting to the point, allow me to be utterly subjective:  one is really well made, and one isn't.

Which is why I think there's an injustice here.

"Trunk Monkey," above, was banned several years back by Ad Standards Canada because of its moment of violence.

"Step", also above, was Australia's most-complained-about ad last year, but was not banned, because authorities deemed it broke no advertising code.

I don't like either decision: but not (I hope) for reasons you might suspect.   

Here's the deal:

"Trunk Monkey" was pulled because it was violent.  True enough.  But is it likely to corrupt viewers- particularly, one imagines, younger viewers- when the programs this ad sponsors might include graphic violence many (many many) times more disturbing.  Applying such hypersensitive standards to ads, but not to programming, is the sign of a regulatory system seriously out-of-sync.

"Step" was not pulled because it was not seen to contravene any provisions of the Ad Standards code.

So the earnest, honest, clever, well-crafted ad is pulled.  The low-budget sophomoric sight gag remains on the air.

Choices that are entirely proper, by the letter of the law.  But that don't make 'em right.

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