DB has agreed to take down a billboard that, according to Family First, “glorified pornography”. Great, there is some stuff your kids just don’t need to read.
But Family First is going further than that, from their email:
Family First has called for a committee to be established to pre-approve billboards. Mr McCroskie said the committee should include specialists to advocate for the protection of children and families from offensive billboards. “Families are sick to death of being confronted with offensive material as they drive along motorways and through city streets.”
Do we really need another bit of bureaucracy to go through before you can advertise? It would be just a nuisance for the vast majority of advertisers who were not intending to have anything offensive on their billboards anyway.
And it would do no good (and possibly even do harm), because in the long run it could end up being stacked by government-appointed left-liberals, who would have a completely different idea to Family First about what is “offensive”. We could see stuff currently considered obscene approved due to it “becoming accepted in popular culture”, but Christian content repressed to not offend Muslims or some such nonsense. Who knows? Why risk it?
If the “Advertising Standards Authority is a ‘toothless wonder'” as Mr McCoskrie says, wouldn’t any government appointed authority just end up the same?
The billboard is being taken down. The current law therefore seems to be working. Let’s be happy about that, not make up more laws.
Or have I missed something?
March 13, 2009 at 1:31 pm
“Or have I missed something?”
No I think you are about right, however do you realise that there are dozens of these Billboards that have gone up in the last few days and if I read the announcement right they are only taking down one.
I saw two from the Bus on the way to work this morning.
Bit of a waste though I did not realise it was advertising beer!
March 13, 2009 at 3:06 pm
No, I didn’t realise that, on re-reading the article I’d say you’re right. That makes it more complicated. I still don’t think a new bureaucracy is needed though, if the ASA isn’t doing its job it needs to be fixed, not added to.
Far cheaper solution – lets get Mr McCoskrie onto the ASA board!
March 13, 2009 at 3:57 pm
Good call there Sam. Now I recall, as I read Bob’s press release on it I was thinking “hey, isn’t this a bit over the top?”
Voice of Waikato said “This is offensive – porn hurts women and children.” – well hey, if that’s the case, then guns kill and pencils offend people.
No, we don’t want a Govt. board examining everything and OKing it before it is published – what next, books… club newsletters?
In saying that though, have had a couple of run ins with ASA – and am not convinced at all that they are doing a good job.
March 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm
I’ve had my own ASA problems too – in my case the complaint was upheld but there was no real penalty (the penalty was to cease the ad, which had already ceased), so I may as well have not bothered complaining.
There is a bigger issue at stake here actually – at present if you find something offensive you can complain about it and (hopefully) have it stopped. But if something is pre-approved you will probably lose the right to complain, or at least find it very difficult to get your complaint upheld. If something offensive were pre-approved there would be little you could do about it.
There are two sides to any regulation. It is easy to just look at what it would prevent, the flip-side is what it would allow.
March 13, 2009 at 7:18 pm
you raise a good point. As domany of the comments.
For me one of the frustrating things with advertising nowdays is that it aims to provoke and offend just to get it noticed.
I am sure some companies run with something offending to a group within our society knowing they will get a few days of media hype and therefore interest.
March 13, 2009 at 7:22 pm
agreed – the thing of offending people in adverts is becoming tired and over-used, even a pathetic and childish.
March 13, 2009 at 8:29 pm
The Advertising Standards Authority is a censor, it just censors after the fact rather than before it, as advocated by Bob.
This case shows that the profit motive is a regulator of behaviour, and IMHO we should get rid of the Advertising Standards Authority.
March 14, 2009 at 6:37 am
As some of the comments have said if this board was created it would soon spread its remit to other areas.
I wonder if Bob would be as keen if he has to submit his press releases to the board for review.
March 29, 2009 at 10:22 am
[…] But Bob McCoskrie does seem to like regulation too much sometimes in my mind. After calling for more bureaucratic hoops to jump through before you can put up a billboard, he is now criticising the Government’s plan to allow […]
March 29, 2009 at 11:58 am
Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
Your, Raiul Baztepo