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UK — ASA bans offensive Reed Online advertisement

20 January 2010

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a radio advertisement for recruitment firm Reed Online for implying that Germans are tyrannical, the BBC reports.

The radio campaign featured a man speaking to his boss, who responded in loud staccato bursts evocative of the speeches of Adolf Hitler. At the end of the advertisement a voiceover ran "boss a bit of a tyrant? Find your perfect boss on the UK's biggest job site."


The advertisement had sparked 13 complaints from the public but Reed did not comment on them.

The ASA said that the advertisement could cause serious offence because it used a native stereotype.
The watchdog said "we noted the advertisement used a German speaker, rather than someone speaking English, to portray the boss as 'a bit of a tyrant' and the humour derived from a stereotype at the expense of German people. We considered that the portrayal suggested that German people were more likely to be unreasonable or aggressive to others."

"We concluded that, given the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German-speaking boss, the advertisement reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people as overpowering and tyrannical and therefore the advertisement had the potential to cause serious offence to some listeners."

The advertisement was found to have breached rules governing good taste and must not be broadcast again in its current form.

 

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