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ASA spurs Charlie's into battle for Kiwi humour

Wednesday 30th January 2008

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Charlie's Trading Company Limited today responded to the Advertising Standards Authority's ruling against one of its cartoon-themed commercials for Charlie's Soda Co, saying that it was another example of political correctness gone mad in New Zealand.

The television commercial for Charlie's Soda Co, which shows a cartoon of a childhood Marc Ellis and Stefan Lepionka peering over the fence to see the neighbour sunbathing naked, uses the same innocent humour as award winning programmes such as The Simpsons, Bro' Town and The Family Guy.

Director of Charlie's, Marc Ellis, commented: "This ruling is ridiculous and another nail in the coffin for the majority.

"It is political correctness gone mad when a tiny minority can dictate that such a fun and innocent cartoon commercial could be found offensive."

Despite Charlie's raising the commercial's broadcast time to Adults Only, the ASA still found the commercial to be in breach of broadcasting principles, with one of only eight complainants saying that children shouldn't be exposed to this 'offensive' material.

Ellis continued: "The commercial appeared after the 6pm News which showed bloodied bodies in Baghdad, naked body-painted women parading at Christchurch Cup Day and security camera footage of a schoolboy being kicked senseless by his peers. It appeared after the Simpsons, with Bart's butt crack, Homer naked and drunk, Barney Gumble drinking beer from an ashtray and Itchy killing Scratchy in 11 different ways.

"There's a lot children shouldn't be exposed to. The Charlie's Soda Co ad is definitely not our greatest fear."

Ellis said: "We have had a great response from the majority of New Zealanders, who saw this advertisement as it was intended...a charming and amusing reflection of the way life used to be.

"It is ironic that these ads which were made to show how simple life was in the good old days, have been knocked back by the modern day nanny state in which we exist."

He continued: "We are not saying that everyone should share our sense of humour or shouldn't voice an opinion.

"However, we need to look closely at the absurd and confused regulations which can see an ad approved for television and then subsequently have that approval withdrawn because just eight out of four million New Zealanders have complained.

"Not only does this decision have a big economic cost to Charlie's but it allows an embittered bunch of 'naysayers' to dictate terms to everyone else.

"We are committed to ensuring all Charlie's current and future commercials are as entertaining as possible for the vast majority of New Zealand viewers who enjoy a smile."

The advertisement was also defended by the Television Viewers Bureau, which approved the commercial with a PGR rating (any news/current affairs shows, post 7pm or in daytime weekday adult viewing) before it went to air.

Although the Charlie's Soda Co. commercial has now been pulled from air, it can still be viewed on youtube.

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