ASB Finds Beverage Ad Offensive to Redheads
The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has upheld complaints that Rusty Yak Ginger Ale’s advertising, which urged viewers to “stop the ginger gene” from spreading by looking for bottles of the product hidden in six-packs of beer, was offensive to people with red hair. Carlton and United Breweries ran the television and internet ads for the product and told ASB the ads were intended to launch the product “in an affectionate, light-hearted and humorous way by linking the hair colour with [its] ‘crisp and zingy Rusty Yak gingery flavor.’” The Ad Standards Community Panel considered the ad in relation to its advertising code of ethics, which refers to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and other personal characteristics. The panel said, “DNA can be considered to be related to ancestry and descent . . . in this context the reference to people with red hair falls within the definition of race.” The panel also said the “suggestion that the genetic trait needed to be stopped was a negative one” and found that “the most reasonable interpretation of this line was that having red hair was undesirable.” Carlton and United Breweries disagreed with the finding but withdrew the ads.