ITC clears Foster’s Ice film of inciting racism

M&C Saatchi’s latest television commercial for Foster’s Ice has come under fire for encouraging racism, according to the Independent Television Commission’s latest Television Advertising Complaints report.

M&C Saatchi’s latest television commercial for Foster’s Ice has

come under fire for encouraging racism, according to the Independent

Television Commission’s latest Television Advertising Complaints

report.



The ad opens in the style of a documentary or charity ad, showing an

elderly bushman apparently searching for water. The voiceover explains

that the man is trying to find a toad in the muddy remnants of a

waterhole, so that he can suck out the water in the frog’s body.



When a large kangaroo bounds into view, the old man drops the frog in

fright and the man’s streetwise son complains that his father was ’never

the sharpest tool in the box’ and that he would have been better off

drinking Foster’s Ice lager.



The ad attracted 132 complaints from viewers, who said that the campaign

was in poor taste. The references to drought and, by implication,

famine, were considered unsuitable for comic treatment and some viewers

felt the depiction of the bushman could encourage racist attitudes to

people in developing countries.



The ITC decided that if the ad was shown close to documentaries or news

reports about droughts or famines, more viewers might have found it

insensitive.



However, the ITC felt the commercial did not depict human suffering but

ingenious survival techniques and decided it would be excessive to

intervene on the grounds of taste since most viewers would see the ad as

a light-hearted pastiche of a documentary and, therefore, unlikely to

encourage racist attitudes.



Channel 5 also came under fire in the report for the scheduling of ad

breaks in live basketball coverage from the US. A member of the ITC’s

Viewer Consultative Council queried the insertion of an ad break during

live play.



The ITC decided that there was not sufficient reason to insert a break

that disrupted coverage of the game and contravened the rules requiring

breaks to be inserted only at natural break points. The complaint was

upheld.



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