ASA bans ad for offensive racial stereotype

LONDON - The ASA has banned a Tombola bingo ad featuring a black man repeating in song everything a white man says, ruling that it breached the advertising code on using harmful or negative stereotypes.

The Advertising Standards Authority investigated after two people complained that the ad, created by Euro RSCG London, presented a negative racial stereotype.

The ad showed a white man in a dinner suit and a black man, Tito, in a floral shirt, both sitting by a fire on a beach. The black man was playing a ukelele and repeated in song everything the white man said.

The ASA considered that the relationship between the two characters "was defined as the power of the white man over the black man", because of the difference in their dress and the way the black man was portrayed as less intelligent in that he repeated everything the white man said, even "Thank you, Tito".

The black man also seemed to look to the white man for reassurance or instruction, suggesting that he lacked the confidence or intellect to behave otherwise, the ASA said.

Tombola Bingo, an online business which also sponsors ITV1 soap 'Emmerdale', said it did not intend to use the ad again.

Clearcast, which cleared the ad for broadcast, said it believed the ad was not meant to be offensive and did not present a negative racial stereotype.The ASA has judged a number of racism complaints in recent years, clearing a Cadbury Dairy Milk ad in November 2009, a Twinings ad in March 2008 and an Orbit ad in August 2007.

In March 2007 it banned a Trident chewing gum launch ad, saying it could be seen as belittling to black or Caribbean people.


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