By Edwina Seselja
Advertising could lose its sense of humour in exchange for political correctness says a marketing expert after the industry body ruled a television commercial “vilified” husbands.
The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) board recently upheld a complaint about an Allpest commercial depicting husbands as “pests”.
The West Australian ad, which has been running for the past 10 years, featured a woman calling the pest control company and asking which insects they exterminate, before asking if they “do husbands”.
“Gender stereotyping, where the caller asks this company [presumably] if they ‘do husbands’. Would it be any more or less acceptable if the caller asked this company it ‘they did wives’ as opposed to husbands. I suspect it most certainly would not be,” the complaint stated.
The ASB report stated its ruling was based on the precedent of the Ashley Madison case, whereby the board determined the ad breached the Advertiser Code of Ethics.
“The majority of the board felt that comparing husbands to pests is degrading and vilifying of husbands,” the ASB report said.
Allpest has expressed disappointment it the ruling saying their ad “cannot and should not be compared to [the Ashley Madison] advertising as it’s a totally different context and situation”.
Dr Andrew Hughes specialises in marketing at the Australian National University and says the move to ban the ad is a reflection of changing community expectations.
“When you make a joke it’s usually at someone’s expense…we may in fact see less humour in advertising,” he said.