Doom ad not racist says ARB


Johannesburg – Following a complaint, Tiger Brands had added ‘don’t spray on food’ to campaign showing a man’s meal interrupted by a flying insect.

Branding and advertising expert Andy Rice has explored whether it’s right that the opinion of just one person could lead to the banning or modification of an advertisement.

Rice explores this issue in the wake of a complaint about a TV campaign for Doom insecticide which features a young man eating pizza while being bugged by a flying insect.

The man responds by spraying the offending bug with Doom. He happens to be black and this is what was queries by the complainant.

“He whips out the Doom to restore peace in his world, but the impression is given to some people that the spraying of the Doom over or near food, would be considered a very stupid thing to communicate,” said Rice.

In the case the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) dismissed the complaint, but the advertiser “undertook” to a disclaimer.

“The Complainant queried why the Advertiser elected to use a Black person in their Advertisement, and asked: Why black people because they are ‘stupid’ enough to use doom on food?” said the Advertising Regulatory Board.

Tiger Brands said the reasonable consumer is aware that Doom is an insecticide and wouldn’t interpret the ad to mean that Doom can be sprayed on food. The advertiser further explained that it used a black person as black people make up 80% of South Africa’s population.

The significant thing about this ruling, says Rice, is that only one party appears to have complained.

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