Wednesday, October 14, 2009


South Africa's IOL reports that their country's Advertising Standards Authority has banned an ad campaign by a chain of "gentlemen's clubs":

What's interesting about this ruling is that the billboard wasn't just cited for being sexually explicit, but "an offence to the dignity of athlete Caster Semenya".

For those who don't remember, Ms. Semenya was the South African runner who won gold in the 800 meters at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, only to have the IAAF insist that she undergo a gender test — causing national and global furor.

For his part the advertiser, Lolly Jackson, is playing this scandal for all its PR potential — first of all denying that the ad had anything to do with the runner because he lacks subtlety ("the model on the billboard would have been black, she would have been wearing a pair of athletics shoes") and then vowing to use his future ads to "throw mud" at the ASA.

It's a sleazy ad to be sure — in every sense of the word. But I can't imagine an ad getting pulled in this country just for making an oblique jab at a public figure. Can you give me an example otherwise?


  1. Well dude .... at least the ad agencies in South Africa CAN poke fun at public figures.

    Back home NO ONE pokes fun at those in power or those who are famous or infamous. Doing so is usually ummm..... well, it can be hazardous to one's health.

  2. This was just two months ago - more general in a sense, but some of the blue maple leafs took it just as personally...

  3. and yes, I'm just realizing that you blogged about it when it happened....

  4. Yes I did, and that was a case of the advertiser voluntarily caving to criticism: