South Burnett radio ad pulled off the air

A SOUTH Burnett radio ad has been pulled off the air after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Board.

In radio advertisement, which was played on Hot FM, a man identifies himself as Mr Ping Pong and speaks with an "Asian accent".

Mr Ping Pong phones TP Concreting to ask the company to fix his driveway and offers them sushi.

Mr Ping Pong's mother is speaking in the background but the words are not identifiable as any known language.

The case report from the Advertising Standards Board said it sounded like she was speaking gibberish.

The man from TP Concreting responds to Mr Ping Pong in an amused manner and says he will come round as he has "gotta see this" and the voice-over says that no job is "too weird".

A complaint was made to the ASB, which said the advertisement depicted a negative stereotype of the Asian community and was inappropriate for radio.

The advertiser's initial response to the complaint was that the reference to sushi was no different to saying a Vegemite sandwich. A minority of the ASB members considered the reference to sushi was not itself discriminatory as this was a food eaten by many people in Australia.

But the majority of the board noted the cumulative effect of the man's fake accent, the mother's made-up language, the naming of the man as Mr Ping Pong, the reference to the situation as weird and the man's offer of sushi and considered that this amounts to a suggestion that Asian people are being mocked.

The ASB determined the ad was a breach of Section 2.1 of the ethics code, which requires that "advertisements shall not portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual preference, religion, disability, mental illness or political belief".

The board noted although Mr Ping Pong was not an Asian name, it was an offensive term that could be used to refer to a person of Asian decent.

The board also said the ad normalised making fun of a person's English language skills.

TP Concreting responded to the determination by saying the company had already taken the ad off the air.

"We didn't realise that it would in any way be inappropriate, we can see your point and are organising a new ad," the company said.

The decision was made on January 18.

The case report is available here:

South Burnett

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