Bastards, booze - where's our sense of humour?

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2012

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Bastards and booze - the latest complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority might suggest the country's New Year's resolution should be to get a better sense of humour.

When the Bulls Flying Doctor Service asked if a radio audience was filled with "healthy bastards" it caused several complaints from people who thought the word was offensive and objectionable.

In its defence, the doctors' legal counsel suggested that the word was not a swear word but rather based in legal language. It had even been used in legislation such as the "Special Bastardy Act 1235".

One of the service's employees said the campaign had worked well - the company now had more than 160,000 Facebook friends as a result.

Rather than being offensive, the authority said the word was directed at a rural audience where it was in common use. The ad also encouraged a hard-to-reach male audience to think about healthcare, it said. The authority did not uphold the complaint.

However, another complaint about the People's Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris caused more discussion among the authority's members.

The advertisement recounted a Maori myth which resulted in naming the world's longest place name. It said the name meant "the hill where a man with big knees played his nose flute at his loved one". The advertisement then suggested that rather than using his nose flute, the man should have given his "enamoured" loved one a glass of pinot gris.

"It would have yielded a better result for the man with big knees."

The complainant said the words implied that the man would have found the object of his desire more receptive if he had "plied her with wine".

The board said the wine seemed to be incidental to the man's romantic aspirations. However, a minority of its members disagreed saying the word "enamoured" indicated an obvious change of mood to the man's date.

The complaint, however, was not upheld.

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- Sunday Star Times

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