Advertising Standards Bureau Review of Operations 2014 - Page 36

Violence (Section 2.3, AANA Code of Ethics) Violence is unacceptable in advertising unless it is justifiable in the context of the product or service advertised. The advertising of very few products or services realistically justifies the depiction of violence. In 2014 the Board considered advertisements that portrayed domestic violence, cruelty to animals, graphic depictions, weaponry, and imagery that may cause alarm or distress under Section 2.3 of the Code. Complaints about violence dropped from 16.1 per cent in 2013 to 12.13 per cent in 2014. Community awareness Each year the Board receives numerous complaints about community awareness advertisements. These advertisements include messaging relating to public health or safety. The Board has consistently stated that a higher level of graphic imagery is recognised as being justifiable in public education campaigns because of the important health and safety messages that they are intended to convey. Further, compelling detail and shock may be necessary to be effective in these types of advertisements. Anti-smoking campaigns dismissed in 2014 include three advertisements from Quit Victoria which depict a bronchoscopy being performed as a voiceover describes the breathing difficulties smokers can face if they develop lung cancer (0137/14), a child left alone at a train station who becomes distressed (0147/14), and one which features a range of graphic images of parts of the body affected by cancer and disease (0247/14). Another anti-smoking campaign (Cancer Institute of NSW – 0058/14) featured Terrie, aged 51 years old, who was diagnosed with throat cancer. Viewers see her daily routine of getting ready—putting false teeth in, putting on a wig and inserting her hands free device into a hole in her throat. In all cases the Board view was that the explicit images and messages were not inappropriately violent or upsetting and that each advertisement handles the important community awareness issue in a manner which is not inappropriate for the relevant PG audience. The Board is consistent in its view of public health and safety campaigns, where it accepts that a higher level of violence can be depicted if justifiable in the context of the important health message being conveyed to the public. This view was applied in several cases during 2014, including an advertisement seeking donations for brain cancer research (Cure Brain Cancer Foundation - 0357/14). This advertisement featured an operating theatre with a young boy lying on the operating table and during the advertisement sounds of a drill and other operating equipment are heard. Another featured a man in a hospital gown with a shaved head and large stitches on his skull (Department Premier and Cabinet NSW – 0456/14), with a tagline 34 ‘Stop before it gets ugly.’ The Board acknowledged that some members of the community could find the image to be graphic but took a view consistent with previous determinations (0181/10, 0423/11) that the image was relevant to the important community awareness message about alcohol fuelled violence. Other advertisements included one to raise awareness of the symptoms of a stroke (National Stroke Foundation – 0083/14) which featured images of a woman with a burn hole in her forehead and large text with the emergency “000” number and the words “Think F.A.S.T. Act Fast”. Another which raised a higher level of community concern was to highlight the importance of having up to date first aid and resuscitation knowledge (St John Ambulance WA – 0214/14). This advertisement depicted a child sinking to the bottom of the pool with his mother unable to save him due to a lack of first aid knowledge. Domestic violence The issue of domestic violence is a very serious one and in the Board’s view advertising should not encourage or condone actions which can be perceived as unacceptable behaviour. In 2014 concern was raised about an advertisement featuring a couple deciding on the paint colour for their house (Hammonds Paints – 0041/14). The advertisement features two co W