Thursday, June 18, 2009

Horsing around with chocolate

Did you know that horses "fornicate"? One person thought they do, found the image in a TV commercial shocking and complained. New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority considered that and similar complaints about the television ad for Cadbury Moro featuring a brief clip of two horses mating.

The ad was part of Cadbury’s “fourth” campaign, which is based around Moro, which Cadbury calls “New Zealand’s fourth favourite [chocolate] bar”. A little into the ad, the voiceover says: “In the Melbourne Cup, Wonderfoot came fourth. He won’t race again, he has better things to do.” As the voiceover plays, viewers saw the horse mating with a mare. The horse section represented eight out of the ad’s sixty seconds, and the visual was only three seconds long.

T Prins and others complained about this. T Prins said it “was offensive to watch an advert in which 2 horses were fornicating. I am the parent of an 8 year old and a 2 year old and work hard at preserving their innocence. Is this type of advertising appropriate????”

The Commercial Approvals Bureau, which had approved the ad and rated it PGR (which can be broadcast only after 7pm), was asked to comment on the ad. They said:
When we approved this commercial we expected that some people would find this scene offensive but, on balance, decided that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The humour is admittedly rather juvenile and of dubious taste but the footage is not gratuitous and does not depict anything that is not seen daily on farms up and down the country. To take offense seems rather prudish and curiously anthropomorphic (it is not technically possible for animals to "fornicate").
The Authority did not uphold the complaint (their decision, 09/150, is available on the Authority's website). The horses weren’t available for comment.


liminalD said...

These parents who would 'protect their children's innocence' from the natural world really are trying to live in a bubble, aren't they? They think kids don't know what goes on, and they're kidding themselves. What kid hasn't seen a pregnant dog, cat, or woman? What kid isn't aware of dogs humping people's legs, what kid hasn't heard the sort of silly sexual joking that predominates in the playground?

In this media saturated age, these parents are foolish to think kids are oblivious of sex and sexuality, and frankly, anyone who's MET an average 8-12 year old kid, boy or girl, should not be surprised that they know about these things.

My personal opinion is that this 'protection' is more damaging than any kid's awareness of natural phenomena, it fosters a sense of shame around all things sexual that in the long run contributes to neuroses and sexual dysfunction. Frank discussion of sexuality will, I believe, result in healthier attitudes toward sex and reduce the amount of sexual crime in society.

Of course, that's just my opinion ;)

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I completely agree with you. And I also think there's a difference between parents trying to shield children from inappropriate material (like hardcore porn) and their attempting to shield them from anything and everything related to sexuality or even just the human body.

Clearly it's not and can't be "anything goes," but the other extreme is equally invalid. In the end, I think frank discussions and honesty would, as you say, result in healthier attitudes toward sex, and that would have all sorts of benefits.

On the plus side for us in New Zealand, I think that the US needs to learn that lesson the most.