WATCH | Did I hear 'suck my balls'? Nope, that ad just has a lot of 'bam sima bamwa'

03 December 2018 - 06:47 By Nico Gous
The advertisement for Axe Gold Body Spray was the subject of a recent complaint to the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB).
The advertisement for Axe Gold Body Spray was the subject of a recent complaint to the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB).
Image: iStock

The alleged lyrics “suck my balls” in the background music of an advertisement for a popular deodorant were the subject of only the second ruling  that the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has had to make since its recent inception.

The ARB has replaced the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as the new advertising watchdog.

Claire Searle complained about the lyrics of the background music for Unilever’s advertisement for Axe Gold Body Spray.

In the advertisement, a young man sprays himself with the deodorant. He is then shown at a house party where someone hits the bullseye on a dartboard. He is then left hanging as the crowd around him high-five each other and the words, “You awkwaaard” appear on the screen.

Searle said the background music contained the lyrics “suck my balls” at the start of the advertisement.

“The complainant submitted that the commercial itself is pretty harmless, but the song used is extremely inappropriate, because the lyrics clearly say ‘Suck my balls’.”

Unilever, however, denied the allegation. “Unilever confirmed that the actual lyrics used in the backing track of the commercial originate from the song titled ‘Pure Gold (Dumb Bunny & Joseph Remix)’.”

The lyrics are:

Bam Sima Bamwa Sima Sima Ala (x3)

BamSima (x2)

Bam Sima Bamwa Sima Sima Ala (x3)

“It is, therefore, apparent that the above lyrics are, in fact, non-lexical vocables (i.e. a form of nonsense syllables used in a wide variety of music), and do not contain the alleged lyrics.”

The ARB said Searle was not the only one who had misheard the lyrics. It referred to music producer Diederik van Middelkoop’s tongue-in-cheek response to the alleged lyrics.

The ARB said: “These explanations are somewhat tongue in cheek, but do contain clear denials that the lyrics of the song are ‘suck my balls’. It is difficult for the ARB to dismiss these denials.”

It added: “That said, the ARB notes that the defence that the lyrics are nonsense syllables would not in itself be a complete defence in all circumstances. If the lyrics clearly sounded like ‘suck my balls’ and the flighting was inappropriate in that context, the fact that the lyrics are nonsense syllables that just happened to clearly sound like ‘suck my balls’ would not necessarily be a defence.”

The ARB said it is possible to hear “suck my balls”, “especially if one is expecting it, but various members of the ARB heard different things”.

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