MEAT & Livestock Australia’s latest Never Lamb Alone advertisement seems set to reach new viewing heights after surviving a series of complaints to the Advertising Standards Board.
The regulator has cleared the campaign of being discriminatory and racist to white people, despite a complainant claiming an actor’s statement about ‘too many perky white males’ was offensive.
“He was racist in his comments about too many white people on TV and it was racist and offended me,” a complainant said.
The spring campaign started in September, launching lamb as the ultimate cross-cultural protein and celebrating the meat’s ability “to unite all Aussies no matter race, religion or sexuality”.
The campaign’s footage was shot in one take by director Paul Middleditch and features appearances from indigenous Australians, including Olympian Cathy Freeman, National Rugby League player Greg Inglis and model Samantha Harris. Other Aussies present include Greek-transgender comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, established television presenter Luke Jacobz, rising Bengali-Australian actor Arka Das and a long list of Australian extras. Click here to get Sheep Central story links sent to your email inbox.
Less than 10 complaints received
The Advertising Standards Board received “less than 10 complaints” to the MLA advertisements, but dismissed all complaints after MLA submitted its advertisements were well-known for their satirical, tongue-in-cheek expression and were not discriminatory.
MLA submitted that the latest Never Lamb Alone advertisements celebrate diversity and do not promote any act of discrimination, prejudice or vilification.
“The advertisement opens with Luke Jacobz stating that “too many perky white males are contributing to a lack of diversity on our screens”,” MLA said.
“This light-hearted statement is clearly ironic, because Mr Jacobz is a well-known television presenter and the former host of The X-Factor Australia.
“Mr Jacobz is a white Australian male and the statement is simply a nod to the common criticism that Australian television lacks diversity.”
MLA said there is no better way to address the diversity issue than to feature Australians from all walks of life and racial backgrounds in the advertisements.
“The tongue-in-cheek comment by no means treats white males unfavourably or seeks to ridicule such members of society.
“We submit that the reasonable viewer would not perceive this statement or the Advertisements as a whole to be racist or sexist. The advertisements promote acceptance and tolerance – not bigotry or the incitement of hatred towards white Australian males.”
In dismissing the complaints, the Advertising Standards Board said the advertisement did not portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race, and did not breach Section 2.1 of the code.
The spring 2016 Never Lamb Alone finishes next week and so far has had 5,572,742 views on mainstream social media platforms and Youtube. This has included 33,672 shares and 50,759 likes.
“We are currently sitting on 371 pieces of media coverage with an OTS (opportunity to see) of 166,478,331,” an MLA spokesman said.
Click here to read the full Advertising Standard Bureau report.