Too risky: Captain Risky banned by ad watchdog

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 8 April 2015

Captain Risky is known for living dangerously, and the Advertising Standards Bureau agrees, upholding a complaint made against the character's risky behaviour.

The advert, for insurer Budget Direct, shows Captain Risky leaping into a hot tub which has a number of electrical cords and power points coming out of it, and water flowing over the outlets.

The character is designed to emphasise how Budget Direct can provide low-cost insurance, as it refuses to ensure “risky” people in order to keep premiums low.

However the advert received complaints for portraying a “safety hazard”.

“As an electrical engineer any suggestion that water and electricity can be abused is to trivialise a potential serious safety hazard which could lead to serious injury,” the complainant said.

“Children see an adult exposing himself to a playful situation with flashing wires and the inference is that it is fun and acceptable.”

Another said: “I believe this shows an extremely dangerous scenario to viewers, especially those of younger years who may interpret the scene as perfectly safe, thereby possibly putting the young viewers' lives at risk.”

While previous complaints against Captain Risky have been dismissed, the ASB upheld the complaint on the grounds that the risky behaviour in this advert was an item that viewers have access to.

“The board noted that it had previously dismissed advertisements for Captain Risky where he is seen carrying out a series of stunts,” it said. “The board noted that in those advertisements, the stunts were quite outrageous and would not be able to be performed by most adults or children as they involved vehicles or equipment not easily or readily available (eg: a jet-pack).”

“The board noted that in contrast to the decisions above, the current advertisement was not a montage of crazy stunts but rather one single activity that involved a hot tub which is the type of item that some home owners would have.”

In its response, Budget Direct said the advert would not be aired after today.

“Whilst this is a disappointing result, as we considered this execution to be pure fantasy, it does highlight exactly why Budget Direct wouldn’t insure Captain Risky,” it said. “To reiterate, Budget Direct does not support or condone potentially dangerous/unsafe behaviour.”

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