Budget Insurance adverts ‘not racist’: advertising watchdog

27 September 2018 - 07:00 By Nico Gous
Advertising Standards Authority says it believed Budget Insurance wanted viewers to see the commercials and think “that could be me” to nudge them to take out insurance.
Advertising Standards Authority says it believed Budget Insurance wanted viewers to see the commercials and think “that could be me” to nudge them to take out insurance.
Image: Screen grab from Budget Insurance advertisement on YouTube

There is “no implication” that black people are more irresponsible than white people when in comes to insurance.

This is the gist of an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling this week following a complaint against a series of Budget Insurance commercials.

In one of the television commercials‚ a character named Mpho suggests he will insure his car next month while it rests on bricks after the wheels were stolen. In another commercial‚ Monique is cancelling her insurance before it is hit by a waste management truck.

“The commercials do not impose a burden or obligation on any person based on their race‚ nor do they withhold a benefit or opportunity from them‚” the Advertising Standards Authority said in their ruling on Friday. 

Frank Nkosi complained that the commercials are offensive.

“Only people of colour are shown either as having cancelled their insurance or not having insurance.

“There is not a single white person in all the Respondent’s [Budget Insurance] advertisements that has not got insurance or has cancelled their policies‚” he complained.

Budget Insurance said they wanted the commercials to show light-hearted and mundane scenarios about people not taking out insurance.

“They [the commercials] are in no way directed against any race‚ gender or sector and the Respondent [Budget Insurance] has in the past used individuals of different races and genders to market its insurance products in a similar manner‚” it said.

Budget Insurance submitted their television commercial featuring the character Jane‚ a white person‚ who also failed to take out insurance as part of their response.

There are many reasons why people don’t budget, like Jane. She doesn’t trust insurance. But Jane ends up showing us that with Budget Insurance, you CAN budget. Budget Insurance. Affordable, ‘cos you can’t afford not to! FSP: 18178 Visit Budget Insurance today to learn more www.budgetinsurance.co.za

The ASA showed Nkosi the Jane commercial. He said he had never seen it and admitted he only watched certain channels.

The ASA said it believed Budget Insurance wanted viewers to see the commercials and think “that could be me” to nudge them to take out insurance.

“To do this‚ they will most likely match the race of the actor to the race of the viewer in so far as possible. They will use the viewership stats of the channels and programmes to make this call‚” the ASA said.

“Most people in South Africa are black‚ and therefore more of the commercials that are aired are going to have black characters.”

They dismissed Nkosi’s complaint.


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