• Shoprite rolled out a TV ad in which a black child at a school career day says she wanted to work for the retailer.
  • A complaint was lodged against the ad, claiming it was offensive and discriminatory.
  • The ads authority of SA dismissed the complaint saying it does not breach their code.
  • A career counselling psychologist also agrees and calls for respecting people's career aspirations.

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) ruled this week that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a person or, in this case, a child aspiring to work at Shoprite.

Viewer Charles Ngubeni lodged a complaint with ASA protesting against a TV ad by Shoprite in which a black girl declares, "when I grow up. I want to help people save money. I want to work at Shoprite like my mommy".

Ngubeni’s gripe with the ad is that it creates an impression that it is desirable for a black girl to work for Shoprite, which he regards as belittling.

He argued that his fear is “what will happen should many black children start dreaming about working for Shoprite, which is a low wage job that does not require a tertiary education“.

See also: Ad for a popular SA diet product has been banned

ASA however, disagreed with his views.

ASA holds that the ad does not, in any way breach the Authority’s code, specifically clause 1 (prohibiting offensive ads) and 3.4 (prohibiting discriminatory ads) which the complaint is premised on.

Social concern underlying the complaint was deemed relevant and important by ASA – that black children in particular, for historical reasons, should be encouraged to get a tertiary education and aspire to careers that hold status and an ability to earn more than a living wage.

In their ruling, ASA said there is nothing in the commercial that imposes burdens, obligations or disadvantage on or withholds benefits, opportunities or advantages from black people and accordingly dismissed Ngubeni’s complaint.

The commercial, if anything, communicates the many possibilities open to all South African children, said ASA.

Now read: These are the 10 most loved ads in South Africa

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