Wakachangi Lager wins case over "sexist" ad complaint

Publish Date
Friday, 3 August 2018, 8:46AM

Wakachangi Lager has won an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) case over allegations one of its adverts promoted sexual and physical violence against women.

The instore advertisement for beer brand Wakachangi Lager, founded by Kiwi comedian and Radio Hauraki host Leigh Hart, was displayed on the packaging for a 12-pack of the product in a New World supermarket store.

The image on the packaging features a man wearing a torn shirt supporting a fainting woman with his right arm. In his left hand he is holding a BBQ Mate, attempting to defend himself against an attacking red-eyed guinea pig. The text says: "With the beast's razor sharp tusks at his throat, Great Uncle Kenny drew his BBQ mate and slew the rare but ferocious guinea pig, thereby saving his Tinder date."

The complainant said they were concerned the advertisement promoted sexual and physical violence against women and disapproved of the advertiser using a woman's body and men's sexual prowess to sell alcohol.

"This is blatantly offensive to women. It appears at first (and second!) glance to promote sexual and physical violence against women. My 11-year-old daughter was upset and shocked when she saw this and we had to stop and try to understand and discuss the picture," the complainant said.

"Understanding (finally) that the man in the picture is supposedly 'protecting' the woman, not attacking her, does little to alleviate the offensiveness of this advertising. What's the point?! Why the cleavage? Why the woman bent over the man's arm in such a suggestive, provocative manner? I haven't seen such an obvious and distasteful attempt to use women's bodies and 'victimhood' and men's sexual prowess to sell alcohol in a long time."

The advertiser disagreed, saying the man featured is a classic hero protecting his date and the advertisement is an over-the-top cliché which relies on the use of humour and hyperbole.

In addition, the advertiser noted that the advert had been used in alcohol stores and supermarkets since November 2016, and they had not received a prior complaint.

In its determination, the ASA agreed the hero in the advertisement was trying to defend himself from the attacking red-eyed, tusked guinea pig, with a BBQ Mate and it did not appear that the man intends to harm the woman in any way.

The ASA said that the scenario was not meant to be taken seriously.

Hart told the Herald that he was happy that common sense prevailed.

"The Wakachangi team is obviously very happy that common sense has prevailed," Hart said.

"We never had a 'sex sells' objective when designing the beer box, and personally I have never found giant guinea pigs with tusks sexy!

"The artwork was a clear homage to style of art very common in the 40's and 50's, and like the Wakachangi brand attitude over all it's designed to be fun. The brand has had incredible growth over the past year and that testament to many Kiwis appreciating what we are trying to achieve."

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.

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