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JUNE 2021


Ad Standards panel upholds complaint

Pot-smoking Kermit and smutty nursery rhyme anger father

Wicked camperBy Dennis Amor
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A FATHER'S complaint about a smutty nursery rhyme and cartoon-style drug-smoking Kermit the Frog on the side of a Wicked campervan has been upheld by Australia's advertising watchdog.

The angry dad told the Ad Standards Community Panel that words alongside the image had urged people to: "Roll, roll, roll your joint, pass it down the line. Take a toke, inhale the smoke and blow your f.....' mind!".

Meanwhile, more text on the rear of the campervan stated: "All things must pass George Harrison".

The father pointed out that the drugs "alluded to and promoted" were illegal.

"The advertising is using a very popular children's character, " he said. "So whether intended or not, it is directed at children.

"I'm pretty sure promoting smoking goes against community standards, let alone smoking illegal substances.

"I'm certainly pleased my teenage children weren't with me when I saw this 'van."

The panel decided that the wording and graphics referring to the use of cannabis did conflict with community health and safety standards.

In its written decision, it referred to a similar case where an advertisement had made light of drug use by using a well-known children's nursery rhyme's structure and an image of well known children's program characters.

The panel considered that the advertisement complained about by the father "glamourised drug use and trivialised an important issue" by suggesting that the use of illegal drugs was not something to be taken seriously.

It had breached sections 2.5 and 2.6 of the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics, it added.

Wicked Campers did not provide a response to the panel about the complaint.

Meanwhile, offensive slogans on vehicles such as those on the notorious Wicked Campers will be outlawed under new laws being introduced by the West Australian government.

States which have already taken action to ban the slogans include Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania.

Caravanning News was one of the first media outlets in 2007 to report complaints from caravan parks about the bright and quirky Wicked campervans daubed with sexy slogans and depicting sex acts and masturbation.

Some family-orientated caravan parks banned the gaily painted campervans bearing smutty text and drawings, including stick people in a variety of sexual positions.

The Caravan Industry Association of Western Australia carried out an investigation and even the then Queensland Premier Anna Bligh waded into the controversy, admitting she was disgusted by some Wicked slogans.


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