'Bum' ad pulled after complaint

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 08:32 04/01/2013

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A tourism advert for Franz Josef Glacier Guides on the back of a Queenstown bus showing an image of a tradesman's bum has been pulled following a complaint.

The Advertising Standards Authority investigated a complaint about the advert, which showed the man bent over with his shirt lifted up and jeans slung low to reveal part of his bum.

A crack separated the image from a second image of a couple walking through a crevasse on the Franz Josef glacier with the caption "Unlike his crack . . . you'll want to explore ours."

A complaint said the advert was offensive and in poor taste, and the owner of the guiding business, Ngai Tahu Tourism, removed the hoarding.

The authority decision said the matter was settled after self-regulation, noting the response from Ngai Tahu that said Queenstown was an international visitor destination with many sophisticated travellers.

"This is the only complaint or negative comment we have received. The intent is not a sexual undertone, rather making fun of a recognised fashion malfunction."

The complaint said Queenstown has a reputation for "loose behaviour" and the image was offensive because it was very close to the practice of "mooning" and seemed to reinforce the behaviour was acceptable.

"In short, it is in the most appalling bad taste."

Ngai Tahu Tourism's response said the image was not insinuating mooning, which would indicate full bum exposure.

Instead it was related to the widely known phenomenon of plumber's crack, in American English, and builder's bum, in British English, technically the exposure of male "buttock cleavage".

The response said the term "builder's bum" was first recorded in 1988 based on popular expression of the kind of mishap prone to tradesmen.

In the Netherlands, the term "bouwvakkersdecollette" is used, and in Germany, the word "Maurerdekollete," translating as builder's or masoner's cleavage.

The advert was designed to be humorous and identified a common sight in New Zealand among tradies.

Mooning required complete removal and full exposure but the advert showed a tradesman bending over to lift a heavy item and was not purposefully exposing any part of the body.

It did not condone or suggest loose behaviour and was designed to encourage travellers to explore the natural beauty of New Zealand.

"It does not promote loose behaviour but clearly steers people towards something more positive and essentially Kiwi. It uses humour to engage with the target audience; it does not seek to be offensive or rude."

The authority considered the matter was settled at a complaints board meeting on December 5.

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THE ARGUMENT

The complaint: "I found being faced with the bare backside of a man and the comment to be very offensive. I was not able to ignore it as it was on the bus in front of me as I travelled along the road from Remarkables Park to the Frankton turnoff."

The response: "The image does in no way portray or glamorise the practice of mooning, as mentioned in the complaint."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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