Offensive Wicked Campers 'disappear' following censor ban

A Wicked Camper parked in Nelson.

A Wicked Camper parked in Nelson.

Wicked Campers became known as a brash, unapologetic company that built its reputation on offensive slogans plastered across its vehicles.

But almost a year on from a nationwide furore that saw the Chief Censor ban a handful of its vans from the road, the feeling is that the company has been somewhat tamed.

"They are not like they used to be 12 months ago," said Golden Bay's Pohara Campground assistant manager Leigh Johnson. "It think they have toned it down."

Wicked Campers seems to have tamed its messaging following a ban on some vehicles by the Chief Censor.
Carly Gooch

Wicked Campers seems to have tamed its messaging following a ban on some vehicles by the Chief Censor.

Last year, three of Wicked Campers' most offensive vehicles were banned from New Zealand's roads, following a landmark ruling from the Classification Office. It was the first time the office had made a decision about a vehicle.

It meant that the vans were banned from public places in New Zealand and Wicked could face a fine of up to $200,000 per offence if it continued to use them.

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A Wicked Camper slogan taken by a passenger in a following vehicle on Wakefield Quay, Nelson.
Tim O'Connell

A Wicked Camper slogan taken by a passenger in a following vehicle on Wakefield Quay, Nelson.

Have you seen Wicked Campers with offensive slogans on them? Email us

Johnson said the vans were "disturbing" but since the decision there had only been two vans wanting to stay at the Pohara camp. She said these were not offensive.

"Innuendo is one thing but these other vans were horrible."

Murchison's Riverside Holiday Park, leaseholder Robin Sandford, said it seemed "all the bad ones had disappeared". 

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"I don't know if they have taken them off the road or what but we don't see a lot of them coming in here," Sanford said. "I saw two in the last two weeks and there was nothing offensive on them. They were funny but they weren't offensive."

Last year a rogue vigilante in the West Coast/Buller regions took it upon themselves to spray paint over slogans they deemed had crossed the line. 

Sandford said the vigilante had not been heard from since.

Mark Quinney of Quinney's Bush Camp said he had not seen any Wicked Campers for "quite some time" either on the road or wanting to stay at his campground.

The outcry about Wicked Campers was sparked by complaints about children being subjected offensive imagery and wording.

The banned vehicles depicted a cartoon of the Cat in the Hat with drug paraphernalia, Snow White about to snort cocaine and Shaggy and Scooby Doo about to smoke cannabis.

Kaiteriteri Beach Motorcamp took the lead at the time - banning the vans from its grounds.

Last April, the operators of Tasman District Council owned campgrounds operators took a stand by insisting some slogans were covered so other campers were not offended. However, the council shied away from a total ban of the vans as it said such a ruling would be difficult to enforce against a single campervan company.

Tasman District Council communications manager Chris Choat said he had not heard any complaints or concerns about Wicked Campers since last year's issues.

He also thought the company seemed to have toned down its slogans.

"What I think is pleasing is that [the company] can take notice of local sentiment."

However Wicked, which did not comment on the ban, has not totally turned over a new leaf.

Last year to the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint about a Wicked Campers' vehicle which had the slogan "this machine kills Fascists" on it.

It agreed the wording was provocative and offensive, after the complainant had claimed it incited killing.

However, Wicked Campers, true to form with other Advertising Standards Authority hearings, did not respond to the complaints board, which it said was a concern.

 - Stuff


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