Advertising Standards Authority rejects stereotypes but allows deception

It is interesting to see which ads were pulled due to complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority in New Zealand and which ones were allowed to remain.

The most shocking decision involved an ad that used deception if not outright lies but that was allowed because it was labelled advocacy. Apparently, if you are an advocacy group you are not required to be truthful in your advertisement. You can use deception and lies and just make stuff up in order to “advocate” for your cause.

It was not the only misleading ad that was allowed. The second ad which was from Greenpeace?was allowed so that they could take part in a National debate about pollution.

It seems that if you are advocating for something rather than selling a product there is no requirement for truthfulness or accuracy in your advertising from the Advertising Standards Authority. Bear that in mind this election year as you watch political advertisements.

…This advertisement from 2 Cheap Cars, featuring a Japanese car salesman topped?the list with 27 complaints claiming it perpetuated racist?stereotypes.

The salesman repeatedly says?”Ah so”?in response to questions the customer.
When the customer decides to buy a car the salesman says “Ahhhh sooold”.

2 Cheap Cars?said it had been viewed by more than 10 Japanese people, none of whom found it?offensive.

Being Japanese, the directors of the 2 Cheap Cars felt they should be able to express their own culture.

2 Cheap Cars agreed to remove the ad.

On a side note the very memorable ad ” Just spray and walk away” has not been removed.

In contrast to that decision the complaints about the ad What’s Polluting the Rivers? by Greenpeace was not upheld.

…Greenpeace television advertisement which claimed that New Zealand rivers were being polluted by industrial dairy farming and irrigation was considered misleading by some viewers who claimed the dairy industry was not solely responsible for the pollution.

Greenpeace argued the impact of intensive dairy farming on water quality was widely documented and Greenpeace should be able to take part in an ongoing national debate on this topic.

The most shocking decision was regarding the Two Maps ? Two Stories from the NZ?Palestine Human Rights Campaign.

Complainants were offended by the billboard advertisement for the New Zealand Palestine Human Rights Campaign featuring two maps comparing the amount of land occupied by both Palestine and Israel in 1947 and then in 2016.

The four complainants said the maps conveyed a misleading impression about the true nature of land ownership in Palestine and Israel.

But?in the context of advocacy advertising, the board said the ad was unlikely to mislead.


The misleading billboard

A misleading billboard known as the ?map of lies? supported by the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign (PHRC) is back on display again after being previously removed by Advantage Media for the misleading nature of the maps.

In December 2015, Shalom. Kiwi reported that the billboard was removed after one day from it?s Ellerslie site, and confirmed that The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the removal of the sign was ?the best outcome we could hope for.? More recently, the ASA has now ruled that the maps express ?robust opinion? and ?allowable?.

?When it comes to strong political perspectives, there are no absolute truth or lies, just political standpoints.? ? NZ Advertising Standards Authority decision 11/085

…The ASA does acknowledge there is a difference between opinion and fact: Rule 11 of the ASA Code of Ethics requires that ?opinion should be clearly distinguishable from factual information?. Rule 2 of the ASA Code also makes it clear that advertisements should not mislead:

?Advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation or create an overall impression, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim is misleading or deceptive, is likely to deceive or mislead the consumer, makes false and misleading representation, abuses the trust of the consumer or exploits his/her lack of experience or knowledge? ? ASA Code of Ethics.

The re-appearance of the billboard certainly challenges the Code of Ethics as the billboard incorrectly states that land in 1947 was under Arab-Palestinian control. This is factually, and historically incorrect: At that time, the land was under British control as part of the Mandate of Palestine.

…The ASA is somewhat out of date with other industry self-regulatory bodies around the world. Last year, MSNBC apologized for using the maps, saying they were ?not factually correct?. In Canada, the Toronto Transit Commission rejected advertisements using the maps because they were found to be ?inaccurate or misleading?. Global publishing company McGraw Hill has also stopped publication and will destroy books that contain the misleading maps.

?As soon as we learned about the concerns with (the maps), we placed sales of the book on hold and immediately initiated an academic review. The review determined that the map did not meet our academic standards,? McGraw Hill confirmed.

The return of the misleading billboard is one of many distortions, anti-Semitic attacks and backlashes present in New Zealand, and often present on university campuses.

David Zwartz, of the New Zealand Jewish Council said: ?The New Zealand Jewish community regularly suffers increased backlash when there is public misrepresentation of the situation in Israel.?