You can’t put a banana in a box while children may be watching, SA’s ad regulator rules

Business Insider SA
  • Several people complained about a television ad for the Pudo service from The Courier Guy, which features a comedian shipping a banana to his girlfriend alter ego.
  • It could not be blamed if viewers read something sexual into that, the company claimed.
  • That's plain disingenuous, says an advertising regulator, exiling the ad to the post-watershed period, when children aren't supposed to be watching television.
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A courier company has been ordered not to flight an advertisement for a locker-based service on TV when children may be watching.

It's "disingenuous" denials notwithstanding, The Courier Guy had created an ad that could cause offence, the Advertising Regulatory Bureau (ARB) said in a ruling published on Thursday, not least of all by getting children to use the word "doos".

It ordered the company not to flight the ad before the watershed, at 21:00 for regular TV and 20:00 on pay-TV channels.

Several people had complained about the ad for Pudo, a courier service that uses lockers as drop-off locations. It features comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout in two roles, as a male character sending a package, and as a female character receiving it.

The ad shows Bezuidenhout’s character depositing a large stuffed banana toy into the courier company’s package, while winkingly explaining to the audience, partly in Afrikaans, the importance of a good fit and the different package (“doos”) sizes on offer. Dressed as a blonde “female”, he then receives the stuffed banana toy, exclaiming that “I always sleep better with Schalk’s piesang”.

The Courier Guy responded to complaints that "'piesang' and 'doos' are Afrikaans words with innocuous meanings",  and that "it appears that the complainants have imposed their own vulgar connotations to a commercial without understanding the definition of these ordinary words", according to an ARB summary.

It also seemed to threaten to sue one of the complainants for defamation.

But the vulgar usage of at least one of those words is officially and widely recognised, the ARB said – and it did not accept innocent intent.

"The Advertiser’s disingenuous denial of these double-entendres becomes even more unjustifiable when one considers the content and overall tone of the commercial, which clearly plays into the innuendo..." it ruled.

Adults may get its tongue-in-cheek nature, the ARB said, but it is not appropriate for kids, as "the commercial attempts to normalise double-entendres in a context which is commonly regarded as vulgar, or at least inappropriate for children to use".

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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