'Insensitive' home burglary ad triggers backlash
A spoonful of humour makes the medicine goes down.
That is what King Price Insurance argued after the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) received two complaints about a TV commercial depicting burglars having a jolly good time over Christmas while home owners are away.
The commercial starts with the sound of glass shattering in a home adorned with Christmas decorations. Three burglars wearing black balaclavas are shown inside, enjoying Christmas dinner, drinking wine, wearing the family's Christmas sweaters, reading stories by the fireplace and opening presents with jovial music playing in the background.
Jennifer Hill complained that the commercial was in poor taste and "appears to celebrate burglaries".
She also submitted that she was the survivor of an horrific armed robbery and found the commercial shocking.
Michael Hourquebie believed the commercial was "very insensitive".
King Price Insurance said as a short-term insurer they often dealt with burglary and robbery victims and were starting a programme to provide trauma counselling.
They told the advertising watchdog that they kept the commercial light-hearted as it was "common knowledge" that burglaries were a problem, more so over the festive season.
They believed there were two ways to depict this.
"The first option was to display the reality of burglaries and robberies in a serious manner and the second option was to keep it light-hearted, and not to include any victims."
The ad watchdog recognised the commercial may trigger crime victims to think it was in bad taste.
"However, the ARB is not the 'taste police' and a commercial must be more than in bad taste for it to be withdrawn."
They added: "Although the scenario that the commercial alludes to - a Christmas home invasion - is horrific, the commercial itself is executed in a light, unrealistic and fun tone. The crime that is shown is clearly an over-the-top and humorous depiction, and shows no traumatic scenes over and above the fact of it being a house break-in."
The hypothetical reasonable person would understand that the scenario illustrates why short-term insurance could be useful.
"It is a reality that the advertiser's services relate solely to traumatic life events and it would be impossible for them to advertise without some reference to these."
The complaint was dismissed.