ASA rules Shoprite ad 'not racist': It's cool to be proud of your mom‚ regardless of her job

24 April 2018 - 06:58 By Nico Gous
Image: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

A Shoprite television commercial is not “racism at its best” the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

Charles Ngobeni complained about Shoprite’s commercial aired on SABC1.

In the commercial a black girl talks about her future career choice in front of her class during Career Day at school.

“When I grow up‚ I want to help people save money. I want to work at Shoprite like my mommy. She says Shoprite sells more groceries than any other supermarket. That means they can get their groceries cheaper than anyone else. That is called bulk buying discount. And because Shoprite pays less‚ they give everyone in South Africa lower prices.”

The commercial then shows the front row of her class with children from various races dressed up as astronauts‚ pilots‚ doctors‚ chefs‚ nurses‚ nuns and other jobs.

Ngobeni complained that the commercial created the impression that it is “desirable for a black girl to work for the respondent (Shoprite)”.

He fears the commercial will make black children dream about getting a low paying job at Shoprite that does not require a tertiary education.

“He (Ngobeni) argued that the Respondent (Shoprite) should use a white child and a white mother as he sees this commercial as ‘racism at its best’.”

Shoprite is not an ASA member‚ but decided to respond to the complaint it called “frivolous and vexatious”.

It said Ngobeni complained on the assumption that Shoprite does not pay “decent salaries to their employees”.

“This claim is not based any facts and is untrue.”

Shoprite said it employs over 144‚000 people‚ as pharmacists‚ lawyers‚ engineers‚ auditors‚ food technologists‚ butchers‚ farmers‚ builders‚ architects‚ accountants and other occupations that require tertiary education.

It added they offer scholarships for primary‚ secondary and tertiary education via its corporate social investment programme.

The ASA said the complaint is important for “social concern”‚ because particularly black children should for historical reasons be encouraged to get tertiary educations.

They added that a child’s dream of working at Shoprite is “not indicative that she will not have a tertiary education and a better future”.

It also said there is “nothing shameful or undesirable about working in a more menial job”.

“The child in the commercial is proud of her mother‚ whose exact role is never made clear. If one works on an assumption that she is indeed a more menial staff member‚ she is nonetheless still worthy of her child’s respect and admiration.”

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