ASA considers pre-vetting CRE’s work

The Commission for Racial Equality could become the first organisation in Britain to have all its advertising pre-vetted by the Advertising Standards Authority, after it used blatantly racist posters in its latest campaign.

The Commission for Racial Equality could become the first

organisation in Britain to have all its advertising pre-vetted by the

Advertising Standards Authority, after it used blatantly racist posters

in its latest campaign.



Three ads, created by Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, went up on poster sites

around Britain last week, prompting a flood of complaints to the

ASA.



They each purported to be for a non-existent company and were

deliberately racist. One, for ’Kujo’ footwear, compares a black

basketball player to an ape, using the line: ’Born to be agile.’ Another

shows a white businessman standing on the hand of a black businessman as

he climbs a ladder, with the line: ’Dominate the race.’



The third shows a white woman sitting on a bus, eyeing a black man in

front of her with suspicion. It is an ad for a rape alarm and carries

the copyline: ’Because it’s a jungle out there.’



The ASA asked for the ads to be pulled on Friday, but the CRE waited

until Monday to replace them, as planned, with new posters carrying the

CRE moniker and asking: ’Which was worse? This advert or your failure to

complain?’ They also use the copyline: ’Racism. Condemn it or condone

it. There’s no in-between.’



An ASA spokesman said: ’We are extremely disappointed that an

organisation which would be the first to come to us for help if it saw a

racist poster has refused to co-operate with us when the boot is on the

other foot.’



Earlier this year, the ASA was given the power to subject organisations

to two years’ compulsory vetting following a huge increase in the number

of advertisers using shock tactics to generate publicity. The spokesman

said the organisation would decide in the next ten days whether to make

the CRE the first victim of its new powers.



Brett Gosper, Euro RSCG’s chief executive, said the campaign had

achieved its objectives. ’With such a small advertising budget, what the

campaign generates is more important than the campaign itself,’ he

added.



The Bath and Avon Constabulary ordered the teaser posters in its area to

be removed last week on the grounds that they caused a breach of the

peace and were an incitement to racial hatred. The ASA received more

than 30 telephone complaints during the first two days of the

campaign.



Perspective, p18.



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