Finance company feels cruel pinch of ASB

By By Amy Kellow | 15 August 2012

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has upheld a complaint against finance company Key Factors' ad depicting a dog covered in clothes pegs, ruling it shows violence and cruelty to animals.

The ad, which ran as a direct mailout, showed a photoshopped picture of a dog covered in clothes pegs accompanied by the question "Feeling the pinch?". It was promoting the company's financial services.

The watchdog received a complaint from a consumer claiming the image had upset their five year old daughter, who "started to cry in distress at the image of the animal covered in clothes pegs." The consumer expressed anger and concern over the image, deeming it to promote "animal cruelty" and "just too distressing to let pass without comment".

The ASB determined it a breach of Section 2.3 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics, which objects to the portrayal of violence unless relevant to the product or service being advertised. It agreed that despite the image being photoshopped, the intention of the ad was to make it appear real and that it could be difficult for a child to understand.

It was futher upheld on the concern that others may try to emulate the scene and committ animal cruelty as a result.

Key Factors hit back, arguing it didn't understand why the image warranted such discussion, suggesting consumers should "open any newspaper or turn on the TV and be shocked by what is really bad in this world".

The advertiser has agreed to comply with the ASB's ruling, saying despite the ad being a "once off promotion ... no further brochures using this image will be printed by us."

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