Smile‚ it's just an ad! Watchdog dismisses therapy gripe

22 June 2018 - 09:19 By Dave Chambers

People who moan about advertising sometimes have a sense of humour failure‚ says the industry watchdog.

Jane Foster complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about a TV ad by property company Redefine depicting what appeared to be group therapy for abused tenants.

The on-screen message at the end of the ad said: “Before tenant therapy becomes your reality enter a partnership with the property professionals. Redefine Properties. We’re not landlords. We’re people.”

Foster said the ad was insensitive and in poor taste. “People who are actually struggling with an addiction of any kind could be offended as it demeans their real struggles‚” she said.

But the ASA directorate agreed with Redfine that the ad was a parody and dismissed Foster’s complaint. Objectively‚ it said‚ “it is an exaggerated and humorous depiction of how tenants are abused and neglected by landlords”.

Redefine said its advertising aimed to be innovative‚ slightly irreverent‚ and willing to poke fun at the stereotypical “bad landlord”.

Before making the commercial‚ the company said it tested the concept with focus groups which responded positively to the humour.

Group and community-based therapy sessions provided a safe haven for a wide variety of people to air an equally wide variety of issues‚ not all of which involved addictions or mental health disorders‚ it said.

Rather than seeking to diminish people’s suffering by reinforcing the idea of therapy as something hidden behind closed doors‚ the ad sought to do the opposite.

“The humour is a measure of the extent to which therapeutic practice has become widely accepted and embraced by mainstream society‚” the company said. 

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