A giant pink condom and 'sexist' vans: ASB dismisses complaints

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 10 December 2014

A giant pink condom in Sydney's Hyde Park and a Wicked camper van displaying the slogan “'She can't wrestle but you should see her box” are just two of the adverts which had complaints dismissed by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).

The pink condom, dubbed “Australia's largest” covered the heritage-listed Hype Park Obelisk last month in a campaign by experiential agency Revolution 360 for health promotion agency ACON. The campaign was part of the “I'm On” safe sex campaign designed to boost awareness among gay men about HIV.

But while it was for a good cause and only visible for a week, the condom raised ire for being “explicit”.

One complainant said: “It is totally inappropriate to have an oversized large sex object shown in public where thousands of underage children cross the park to head to school. I was asked by a friend's child how gays even have sex with that pink thing. How do you explain that to a 12 year old?”

The complaint added that there “are things that should be left in gay clubs and not be taught freely to minors without supervision.”

However, the ASB dismissed the complaint given that younger children would not understand what a condom was and that older children who saw the advert would be receiving safe sex education from schools and parents anyway.

“The board acknowledged that some members of the community would be uncomfortable about the prominence and visibility of a sex related product but considered that in the context of an important community health awareness campaign, which is applicable to all sexually active males and not just the gay community, the use of a condom is not inappropriate for a relevant broad audience which would include children,” it said in its determination.

In a separate case, the ASB has also dismissed a complaint over a Wicked camper van displaying the slogan “She can't wrestle but you should see her box.”

The company has come under fire several times over the past year for displaying slogans alleged to be both sexually inappropriate and derogatory to women.

The complainant found the van to be inappropriate, noting: “ These words contribute to a culture in which women themselves are diminished and disdained, and are the thin end of the wedge that ends in violence and sexual violence by men against women.”

However the ASB dismissed the complaint noting that the double entrendre of “box” was sufficiently subtle to be appropriate for the back of the van.

As with the majority of other cases against the company, Wicked Campers declined to respond.

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